Five years on: Chad Wingard’s Mark of the Year
Chad Wingard flew high in June of 2014, claiming the Mark of the Year as his now former club Port Adelaide sat atop the AFL ladder – but what has happened to the ex-Power star since?
It’s 2014, the Power are flying and Chad Wingard has just taken Mark of the Year over Sean Dempster.
Port would go onto win the match by 70 points, and Wingard, alongside Robbie Gray, was again the talk of the town.
The former first round draft pick was an All-Australian in 2013, and looked as if he would become one of the greatest players to grace the game – similar to Gavin Wanganeen.
Fast forward five years, and Wingard is out of form and playing with Hawthorn.
How did it get here?
2014: The night Wingard grew wings
He’d already taken a hanger that year against Fremantle, but this…what a mark.
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said it was the best mark in the competition since Gary Moorcroft soared over Brad Johnson.
As a Power fan in the crowd that night, my reaction sort of told the whole story…
Wingard kicked three goals that night and had 23 touches, Robbie Gray had booted four and Port Adelaide was on top of the world.
Later that year, Port fall from first to finish fifth at the end of the home and away season, and fell to Hawthorn in a preliminary final.
2015: All-Australian again
While the Power struggled to deal with expectation after their 2014 heights, Wingard was terrific, and won his second All-Australian selection at just 22-years-old.
53 goals in 22 games, unrelenting tackling pressure, and an all-round hard worker.
Wingard had kicked a goal in every game that year bar one – a final round dead rubber against Fremantle.
Port fans believed, after a blip on the radar, Wingard would be a vital key in delivering Port Adelaide to the promised land.
2016-18: Lost in the wilderness
As a fan, it was hard to watch, as Port failed to live up to expectations every year.
2016, another year of so much promise ended in disappointment again, and 2017, well, that elimination final loss to West Coast.
However, a number of things stood out…mainly in 2018.
Chad Wingard wasn’t the same player who made the All-Australian side. In fact, he looked as if he’d stagnated.
Aside from a four goal bag in the Showdown last year, Wingard failed to kick more than two goals in any other game.
There have been rumours of disgruntlement with his attitude among senior players, refusal to mingle on away trips. Who knows if any of it was true?
But one thing was for sure. The 2018 AFL Trade Period came along, and Wingard was moved onto Hawthorn.
It was a trade that upset a lot of fans, including Hawthorn fans, as Port got rising South Australian jet Ryan Burton in return, and a first round draft pick – which ended up as Xavier Duursma.
2019 – where we are now
Early in the year, it looked as if Hawthorn had picked up the Wingard of old, and the X-factor was back, as the Hawks defeated North Melbourne.
He booted three goals in his first game in the brown and gold, but has been nowhere to be seen when his side loses.
11 touches and a goal as the Hawks lost to the Saints, 14 touches and no score against the Demons and 16 touches and a behind against the Cats.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said he would fill the ‘Cyril Rioli’ role.
However, Cyril won games, and for Port Adelaide, Ryan Burton and Xavier Duursma have been in electric form.
Will we ever see Wingard return to his lofty heights?
Or will he finish his career with so much potential left unfulfilled?