Port Adelaide star Ollie Wines says the realisation that he's not a "silky smooth mid" and his willingness to finally trust coach Ken Hinkley played a key role in propelling him to Brownlow medal glory.
Wines became the first Port player to win the AFL's most coveted individual award when he polled 36 votes in Sunday's thrilling count to edge out Western Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli (33) and Melbourne star Clayton Oliver (31).
The win was some consolation following the team's disastrous 71-point preliminary final loss to the Bulldogs.
Wines, who hails from the Murray River town of Echuca, considered leaving the Power at the end of a difficult 2019 in order to return to Victoria.
The star on-baller had struggled with fitness and form issues, was forced to spend time in the SANFL when fully fit, and was stripped of his title as co-captain.
But still under contract, Port Adelaide didn't entertain the prospect of letting him go.
Wines is happy with how things worked out despite not yet having a premiership to his name, and he also revealed that it took him years to have full trust in Hinkley.
"It probably took me a while to really trust Kenny," Wines told reporters on Monday.
"I had a lot of conversations with mum about it - 'I've got to trust Ken and what he's done for me'. It's paid dividends.
"Sometimes putting my ego away and trusting Ken to make the decisions (is what I needed to do). I think at times he is very tough on selection. He has been for me.
"I've doubted his calls at times but now I know he's always got the best intentions for me in mind.
"As much as we get angry and grumpy at times with decisions coaches make, you've got to understand they've got the best intentions in mind.
"They want you to succeed. They want the team to succeed so you've got to put your full trust in them."
Wines, who is now contracted to Port until the end of 2026, elevated his form to a new level this year, averaging 32.4 possessions and 5.9 clearances per game.
The 26-year-old said simplifying his game had paid massive dividends.
"I probably accepted my role a little bit and understood I wasn't going to be the silky smooth mid that carved outside the contest," Wines said.
"All Ken needed from me week in, week out was to put my head over the ball inside and dish it to the guys on the outside, who were the creative, more talented players.
"I don't think I've got a lot of talent, but probably as my Mum said ... I'm a bit of a stayer and will stick it tough to the end and grind it out.
"So once I simplified my game a little bit more, everything just clicked from there."
Australian Associated Press