The world of AFL related media is vast, dynamic and fast paced. If you aren’t engaged on a daily basis, you’re bound to miss something in the flood of news articles, opinion pieces, videos and social media posts – and how relevant are they all to your SuperCoach team anyway? This preseason, we’re solving your problem. Each week we’ll give you our take on the most SuperCoach relevant media.
2016 Average: 80.8 (18 games)
2015 Average: 97.8 (22 games)
A terrific 2015 season meant expectations were high for Chad Wingard heading into 2016, however, it was not to be. A whole season went by accompanied by a feeling of disappointment towards Wingard with 18 games and an ordinary average of 80.8 points per game by his name.
Six months on and expectations still remain high for the sixth year forward. Like it is for everyone else, 2017 is a new year. Will Wingard still be looked upon once again as a dominant forward or will he spend his time more in the middle of the ground again? Strong indications have been given towards the latter and a role change for Wingard in 2017, directly from Port Adelaide’s senior assistant coach Matthew Nicks.
Wingard was supposedly very impressive during the Power’s intra-club match in which he spent his time playing in a midfield role.
“(Wingard’s form playing through the midfield) is a real positive. He did not die off as the game went on. He is an explosive player — and he will play an important role for us in there.”
“We want that depth in our midfield. Our younger midfielders did perform well (in the internal), so that is more encouraging when you do need that depth (in a long AFL season) — and you need midfielders to play multiple roles, from inside to wing to half-forward.”
Ultimately, it is becoming more clear what we can expect from the former John Cahill medallist in 2017 with more minutes through the middle of the ground high on the agenda.
2015 was a big year for the now 23-year-old Wingard, arguably one of the best (2013 being another impressive one) of his career. A 53-goal year to go along with a second All-Australian nod gave reason for internal and external personnel to be excited by Wingard’s 2016 prospects. Not only did Wingard also manage to play all 22 games of season 2015, but partnered it with a 97.8 SuperCoach average to make it the second best seasonal average of his career. Wingard lived up to being one of the few premium-priced forwards in the game that same year, posting a total of 12 SuperCoach centuries, four of which were above the 120-point mark.
Unfortunately, 2016 was much, much different. A troublesome finger, as well as hamstring injuries right throughout the entire year, meant form was a huge inconsistency for one of the best young forwards in the game. A huge drop from a 97.8 to an 80.8 average in 12 months of football is enough evidence in itself to prove any players huge fall from grace. To accompany this drop in SuperCoach average was Wingard’s decline in most statistical areas: disposals from 19.18 (in 2015) to 15.44 (in 2016) per game, marks from 3.86 to 2.89 and tackles from 3.05 to 2.17.
In saying all this, injuries aside, it was always going to be a different year for Wingard with the absence of medium forward Angus Monfries and part-time forward Patrick Ryder. From the get-go, it was certainly noticeable that Wingard’s midfield time had dropped off with a large amount of pressure being put on him to be the primary target and goal-scorer in the forward 50.
At a touch under $440k, Wingard should also be a player highly considered for your SuperCoach side. Entering the prime age of his AFL career, expect Wingard to turn a corner in 2017 more so if he is relied upon to win centre clearances as an elite midfielder instead of kicking 50+ goals as a livewire forward. Given Wingard’s form in 2013 and 2015 it is certainly evident that he is a player capable of averaging 95+ points over the duration of a season and become one of the top premium forwards in the SuperCoach competition.
A down year in 2014 saw Wingard bounce back in 2015, and 2017 should provide much of the same. With Port Adelaide yet to feature in the JLT Community Series we can’t quite definitively lock Wingard into our team’s forward line given we are yet to be shown a glimpse of what his output might be like in 2017. In saying that, keep a firm eye on the Power’s first pre-season game on Thursday night, while always keeping Wingard at the front of your mind.