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It says a lot about the expectation on Chad Wingard that many fans and football pundits considered 2016 a disappointing season for the Power star. Averaging 15 disposals & 2 goals a game to be the leading goal kicker at the club is output many would give a pass mark in isolation.
In essence Wingard played as a part-time forward and part-time midfielder last season which goes some way to explaining his stats. He has played similar roles previously but his disposal average in 2016 was down on the low 20s averaged in previous years. The coaching staff still faced with the dilemma of wanting Wingard in midfield at different times and needing his scoreboard impact forward.
Former Port Adelaide Champion and commentator Kane Cornes was certainly full of praise for the young gun last year when Wingard was preparing for his 100th game. With conversation around Port Adelaide’s greatest ever AFL player Cornes was of the opinion that Wingard may very well surpass Gavin Wanganeen and Warren Tredrea to be Port Adelaide’s greatest ever AFL player by the end of his career.
While it might be a little early to jump to those conclusions the Chad Wingard CV does look impressive. 2x All-Australian, 1x John Cahill medal, 2014 mark of the year award and a Showdown medal in the cabinet. There is also a highlight reel that most players would be pretty happy to call their own. Still only 23 years of age there should be plenty more magic to come.
An improved fitness base will likely see the 23 year old get more midfield minutes in 2017 which Wingard did forecast when quizzed last year about his best on-field role. “I still see myself in the future as a midfielder. It might not be in the next year or two, but hopefully eventually that's what I can work towards”
Like many of his teammates Chad Wingard needs a big pre-season as Port Adelaide looks to return to the finals fold. A few injury hiccups last season certainly did not help the dual All-Australian who had surgery at seasons end for a dislocated right ring finger. ‘The Chad’ back to his best will go a long way to Port Adelaide rising up the ladder.