Hollands happy to land anywhere
BEING drafted is the dream for many young boys and girls around Australia, no less to the team they supported growing up. That’s a potential reality for Oliver Hollands, a Carlton supporter who has courted great interest from the Blues.
Though the midfielder admits it would be “cool” to land at Princes Park, he is well versed in making new surroundings familiar. From leaning on brother, Elijah, who was drafted to the Gold Coast, to boarding at Geelong Grammar, Hollands is well prepared for whatever comes next.
“Obviously the whole family would love (for me to get to Carlton) but I have no preference, I’d love to be anywhere,” Hollands said. “Being on a list is my dream and no matter where that is if it’s interstate or here in Victoria, I’d be happy to be anywhere.
“I think watching Elijah move away I’ve been fairly similar… with Elijah the important thing in his experience moving away from home has been how important family is, how important it is trying to get back and see family where you can… I know that when he does get home he really cherishes the time he does get. It’s something i’ve really looked into and try and take out of his experience and really learn from that as well.”
Much of the allure surrounding Hollands comes from his character, but on-field it’s his high level running capacity and versatility which make him a first round prospect. Having won stacks of the ball on both sides of midfield and even off flanks, he is set to be a highly sought after type.
Maintaining a level of consistency has not been easy though, with the 18-year-old made to manage different voices across school, representative and club football.
“I really liked the way I was playing and didn’t feel I was out of place at all,” Hollands said. “Overall I was really happy with my consistency and being able to play a mix of different roles as well.
“It’s nice to be able to have developed those other roles playing that half-forward and half-back this year. I do think probably my main strength is in that midfield where I can really use my inside-outside craft to get the better of my opponents.
“Some strengths are just being really clean below my feet, I rarely fumble which is fairly important. Then also just my endurance capacity, just being able to work hard up and down the ground with my two-way running as I can get back and defend and then burn my opponent in transition so I feel like they’re some real strengths to my game.
“My running ability allows me to get to as many contests as I can, and I feel like that’s where I’m best used, and I can access the ground in so many different areas with my running ability. In terms of hopefully being at a club next year, I think maybe I do see myself playing in more of an outside role as I do start strengthening my body up a bit more.”
It’s that outside role which has him so closely linked to Carlton, which has been forthright in its desire to fill that list chasm. Having recruited Blake Acres during trade period, it shows. Though the strengths he possesses are easily adaptable, Hollands has room for improvement – in his own words.
“Something that I’m looking to improve on especially as I go up in the levels as the game starts to get a bit faster, is more so to work on a little bit of strength related stuff,” he said. “Eventually if I do want to crack into a midfield, I have to develop a strong inside midfield game.
“I feel like also working on getting a little bit more forward of square and trying to hit the scoreboard is somewhere I can take my game to the next level by hitting that scoreboard.”
After producing the good this season across multiple levels, Hollands will finally find out where his fate lies during tonight’s National Draft. He’s expected to be snapped up in the first round, potentially as a prospect clubs trade up to secure.