PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley isn't overly concerned with Chad Wingard's below-par start to the season and is confident the two-time All Australian is close to recapturing his best football.
The Power forward/midfielder has struggled to have an impact in the opening five rounds of the season heading into Saturday's clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
Wingard, 24, is averaging 17 disposals a game, down from 22.2 last season when he was moved into the midfield.
He has kicked only five goals in as many games and is averaging 3.2 inside 50s – down from five a game last year. But he is in equal sixth in the League for goal assists with six.
However, the most alarming statistic is the fact Wingard has made only three tackles this season.
He has gone three of the Power's five games – wins against Fremantle and Sydney in rounds one and two respectively, and the round five loss to Geelong – without laying a tackle.
Hinkley admitted Wingard was a long way off the form he showed in making the All Australian team in 2013 – the same year he won the Power's best and fairest – and 2015.
"He's not been nowhere at the level that Chad would expect of himself," Hinkley said.
"He's training and working really hard in games.
"That's another bonus for us.
"We've got some players that haven't been in great form at any part of the season, and we're looking forward to them continuing to build their season and hopefully we'll all get in form at some point."
The Power are 3-2 without getting consistent contributions from Wingard, key forward Charlie Dixon and recruits Jack Watts and Steven Motlop.
"It's just what happens," Hinkley said.
"As an individual, every game you play isn't a great game and every year you play, you have some ups and downs.
"For Chad and other players in our team, they just work through patches of their season, like the team does."