MOMENTS after winning last year's Gavin Wanganeen Medal as Port Adelaide's best player under 21 years, Ollie Wines was approached by the man after whom the award is named.
Just to the right of the stage, Wanganeen put his arm around the 20-year-old and quietly told him he had the potential to become one of the club's very best players.
It was Wines' second Wanganeen Medal and he's eligible for a third-straight win this year.
His first 49 games have already seen him become one of the game's best inside midfielders and last year he increased his average number of possessions to 24 a game – he was ranked 10th in the AFL for contested possessions.
But as remarkable as Wines' first few years in the AFL have been, Wanganeen insisted they had to be forgotten.
Wines told AFL.com.au the 300-game champion, who won a Brownlow Medal and a premiership in 1993 at Essendon before claiming the 2004 flag with the Power, said the only way he'd fulfill his potential was to keep looking ahead.
"He said 'Congratulations on the last two years, but they're only two years – you've got to go on to bigger and better things'," Wines said.
"He just said to work hard, put your head down and not rest on your laurels.
"That was a big honour coming from him, being such a successful player for our club, and it's stuck with me.
"Being a Brownlow medalist and a two-time premiership player, he's done something right and he knows that hard work gets you there."
Having represented the Port Adelaide Magpies before returning to Alberton from Windy Hill in 1997 to captain the Power, Wanganeen was one of the club's greatest products.
Like Wines, his star rose quickly – his Brownlow Medal came in just his third season with the Bombers.
Wanganeen told AFL.com.au he saw big things in the young midfielder's future.
"For a big fella he seems to cover the ground pretty well, so that's another asset – he can get on the outside with his fitness," he said.
"He's a very talented player and someone I feel is just going to go from strength to strength, you can see he's got that hunger in his eyes.
"His name's going to be in that top bracket of midfielders in the competition going forward – I've got no doubt about that."
Also a Wanganeen Medal winner, Chad Wingard's reputation bloomed as quickly as Wines'.
Wanganeen previously told AFL.com.au Wingard was the first player whose game reminded him of his own.
Still only 21, Wingard's first 50 matches in the AFL were stunning – comparable to the game's best – and brought a best-and-fairest and All Australian selection.
Last season he dealt with the increased attention that came with rapid improvement, just as Wanganeen did in the early 1990s.
Wanganeen said the key for Wingard, as it was for him, was physical strength.
"You've just got to expect the hard competition that's going to be coming at you – just lap it all up," he told AFL.com.au.
"The leg strength and upper body strength, in the gym, that's what will give you confidence to tackle these big strong bodies coming at you every weekend.
"He's got the talent but keeping strong in the gym was something I relied on; squats, heavy lunges – that's what gave me the confidence to keep going."
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