Chad Wingard is set to improve further in 2013
On the rise: Chad Wingard
At a glance: Wingard capped an impressive debut season by taking out Port Adelaide's prestigious Gavin Wanganeen Medal as the best under-21 player at the club. Drafted at pick No. 6 at the 2011 NAB AFL Draft, Wingard played more footy than any other top-10 pick from that draft in 2012, managing 19 games. His closing speed and willingness to put his body on the line were highlights, as was his tackling ferocity and his composure for a first-year player in a struggling team. Undoubtedly his most impressive performance of the season, a 27-disposal game against Brisbane in round 22, was rewarded with a NAB AFL Rising Star Award nomination. With a little more weight on him, expect him to play an influential role in 2013.
Plays like: Stephen Hill from Fremantle. Hill and Wingard possess multiple similarities; both are wiry-framed, speedy left footers and are around the same height at 184 and 182cm respectfully. Their closing speed is amongst the best in the AFL, and both read the play very well, which can often result in goal-scoring opportunities.
Killer quality: You can just tell Wingard oozes x-factor and will become one of those players who can turn a game off of his own boot. He's fast, skillful and is a good decision maker. With a little more experience, his confidence with ball in hand will make him a very dangerous prospect for opposition sides.
Best performance: Although the Power lost to the Lions by 11 points at AAMI Stadium in round 22, Wingard was sensational. He delivered his most complete and consistent four-quarter performance to gather 27 disposals and kick a goal. It was wet and wild in the City of Churches, but the 19-year-old handled the conditions wonderfully.
What they say: "Everyone could see the talent he displayed this year. He didn’t look out of place and suited the AFL system really well. He had a standout game late in the year with those 27 disposals as a midfielder and he's another one who needs a big pre-season." – Assistant coach Josh Carr.
Stats that matter:
Sixth in bounces (13 @ 0.68 per game)
Equal ninth in handballs (129 @ 6.79)
Equal eighth in handball receives (96 @ 5.1 per game)
11th in inside 50s (38 @ 2 per game)
12th in tackles (46 @ 2.42 per game)