Friendly foes: Ollie Wines (left) and Jack Viney. Photo: Ken Irwin
Jack Viney and Ollie Wines met at primary school in Echuca and have been good friends ever since. Viney will join Melbourne tomorrow as a father-son pick, while Wines is tipped to be a first-round draft pick next month. Emma Quayle spoke to them at the AFL draft combine.
VINEY ON WINES
"MOVED to Echuca when I was eight and started at the same school as Ollie. We played basketball together, our mums became good friends and as families we're very close as well. He's a cheeky kid but pretty serious, too. He's the biggest dummy spitter I've seen. He seems like a big teddy bear, but once you push him over the line he starts throwing fists and firing up because he's so competitive.
''I don't know anyone more competitive than Ollie, or anyone that hates losing as much as he does. That's when he cracks the shits, when he loses. He goes nuts and would do anything to turn things around.
''I remember playing basketball with him: if we lost, he would break down, start crying, and I'd do exactly the same thing. We used to hang out at each other's houses after school. I remember stirring up his little brother Harry, then Harry would bring the kitchen knives out and get the slug guns out of the cupboard. Ollie was the same, and we'd always try and beat each other and get one up.
''One day we were walking back to his place after school and his family had just got a new car. Ollie said, 'We got the new Honda MDX', and I said: 'Oh yeah', and he said, 'Bet you're jealous'.
''We're best mates but we're not the kind of mates that go out and party, we just deeply respect each other and I'd love him to end up at Melbourne with me. If we were at the same team and able to push each other, who knows what we could accomplish, but I think wherever we end up we'll always be looking at each other. If he gets bigger than me then I'll be thinking 'OK, I've got to get into the gym'. In every aspect of life we're always looking to outdo each other.''
WINES ON VINEY
"TO BE honest, I was probably the best footy player at Echuca Primary until Jack came along. We used to play footy at recess and lunch out on the oval and one day this little kid came along and started tackling me and getting the ball off me. That was the first time I met Jack and originally I didn't like him because he beat me at footy. In the end I think he made me into the competitive person that I am now.
''We had a pretty good midfield at Echuca Primary, pretty physical, although Jack got told he wasn't allowed to tackle kids at school or be rough, because he used to hurt too many of them. He was a good kid, a bit rough around the edges. He didn't like being pushed around, whether it was by the boys in footy or by the girls verbally.
''Over time he's become a really strong leader, not just on the field but off it as well; he's so strong-minded and he speaks so well. Everyone likes him and respects Jack because he works as hard as he can. He's got an old head on young shoulders, as they say.
''We love beating each other, it's something he brings out in me. We've played mostly against each other since he moved away after grade six and he's got me a few times. In the Vic Country-Vic Metro game this year he got me in a headlock then texted me afterwards and said sorry, which was nice of him. We're always fighting - he hits me and I laugh, so it just makes him hit me harder.
''He's grown up in an AFL environment, which has been good for him and also for me. I've tried to learn as much as I could from him, and also from his dad. Todd's offered me a lot of good advice, tips on my kicking and my game in general, so I have him to thank for a lot of things.
''It's just starting to sink in that I'll more than likely be at an AFL club soon. Ten of them have been to see me at home and a few extras have spoken to me down here, so I have no idea where I'll go but I'm ready for whatever happens. It's what I've always wanted to do and I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure wherever we end up, Jack will be trying to beat me, and I'll be doing the same thing. I'd be disappointed if that changed.''