Chad Wingard is helped from the field during Hawthorn's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 22, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

HAWTHORN veteran Chad Wingard is on track to resume training with the main group next week and is aiming to return to action by early May after rupturing his Achilles last August, while vice-captain Dylan Moore is set to play against Essendon on Saturday. 

Wingard hasn't played since suffering the long-term injury against the Western Bulldogs in Launceston in round 22, but has made strong progress over the past month, following a wretched injury patch for the club in February. 

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The dual All-Australian will undergo a comprehensive conditioning block over the next couple of months before he is in a position to play some minutes in the VFL. 

At this stage, Wingard is expected to be ready to play again within the next 7-9 weeks, putting him on a path to feature for Box Hill by rounds six or seven of the VFL season in the first half of May.

When Wingard went down with the devastating injury while out of contract last year, the former Port Adelaide forward was facing up to 12 months on the sidelines but could be ready to return before Hawthorn's mid-season bye. 


Moore is on track to be available to start the season after missing the match simulation and AAMI Community Series fixtures against the Bulldogs late last month due to glandular fever. 

The star half-forward still needs to prove his fitness at Thursday's main training but is expected to start the season in Sam Mitchell's side as part of a new-look forward line in 2024. 

Dylan Moore poses during Hawthorn's official team photo day at Waverley Park on February 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Cooper Stephens will be sidelined for at least the next fortnight with an Achilles issue, while the Hawks will receive a clearer return date for Will Day next week as the reigning Peter Crimmins medallist continues his recovery from a stress fracture in his foot. 

Day hasn't trained with the main group since Hawthorn's first session back after the Christmas break and could miss up to the first month of the season. 

With key defenders James Blanck (ruptured ACL) and Denver Grainger-Barras (turf toe) sidelined with long-term injuries, pre-season supplemental selection period signing Ethan Phillips is in contention to make his debut in round one, just weeks after being added to the rookie list.