Chad Wingard in action during the round five match between GWS and Hawthorn at Norwood Oval on April 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

HAWTHORN forward Chad Wingard requires surgery on a lacerated tongue after a horror incident against Greater Western Sydney.

The 29-year-old received a stray arm to the mouth in a marking contest late in the second term, with former teammate Shaun Burgoyne saying on the broadcast there was a chance the Hawk wasn't wearing a mouthguard.

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"I saw him at half-time and gave him a bit of a cuddle, but I think he's got a lacerated tongue which needs surgery, so that sounds horrible to me," coach Sam Mitchell said.

"He'll head back to Melbourne tonight with some of the staff. To be honest, lacerated tongue surgery, I've never heard of that before, but I can imagine it's not feeling that great for him. 

"They had to take him to hospital. They were waiting for the transport at half-time, so I quickly saw him then, and he's gone to hospital. I don't have all the details, but lacerated tongue surgery sounds nasty to me."


The Hawks lost to GWS by just two points after some final-minute heroics from Harry Himmelberg, and while Mitchell was pleased with most aspects – including the midfield combination of Jai Newcombe, Conor Nash and James Worpel – he acknowledged the forward line remains a work in progress.


"There were some positives in that area, Fergus Greene (three goals) is doing some really good stuff for us, but really, he's what, six-foot-one or thereabouts, he should be a third tall," Mitchell said.

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"The rucks, I thought Ned (Reeves) took four contested marks today, so that's a step in the right direction for him. I thought 'Brocky' (Tyler Brockman), as a small forward, he found the ball 16 times, it's pretty hard to do as a small forward, and he's only played a handful of games, 10 or so.

"I think there were some positives that came from the front half, but at the end of the day, we're really struggling to find a way to kick enough scores from our entries. We made some mistakes from our front half, and their pressure, to their credit, I thought they tackled really well in their defensive 50."


GWS coach Adam Kingsley was a relieved man after the Giants recorded their second win for the year.

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Not only did Himmelberg kick the winning goal, he subsequently prevented Hawthorn from scoring its own winner with a save on the defensive goal line.


"I know very little about marking, so I can't take the credit for [Himmelberg]," former premiership midfielder Kingsley said with a grin.

"He's a terrific player, as we know. He's got capabilities at both ends of the ground, so he's perfectly suited for a role of 'the game's close, go behind the ball'. In the same breath, he won us the game and he saved us the game, too. 


"That's a planned structure with him this week. We knew the game was going to be close, Hawthorn has been battling for the past few games, level at half-time against the Cats but then the Cats showed their class. 

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"We knew they were going to fight, particularly at a ground (Norwood Oval) with not a lot of room on the wings. The game was always going to be high contest."


First-year coach Kingsley praised the performance of former skipper Stephen Coniglio, crediting the classy midfielder with keeping the Giants in touch as the Hawks threatened to make a break in the third term.

"I can't speak on his past, but I've certainly been very happy with how he – it's his attitude and his effort, predominantly – he wants to join in on defence," Kingsley said.

"Perhaps when we were under a little bit of pressure, he was the one who was leading the way, trying to get back into the fight when Hawthorn got momentum.

"I've been really pleased with that part of his game, but also on the outside, he's really challenged the opposition with his ball use and his run. He's had a really strong start to the season."


Young star Tom Green laid a sling-like tackle on Josh Ward, who played out the game, but Kingsley said he thought Green wouldn't have anything to be worried about.