Off-contract veteran Chad Wingard is at a crossroads after suffering a suspected ruptured Achilles in Hawthorn’s shock win over the Western Bulldogs.
The 30-year-old collapsed inside the first few minutes of the eventual three-point upset win.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Chad Wingard suffers devastating injury.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
It was a poorly timed blow for the former Port Adelaide man as he pushed for a contract extension to continue his AFL career with the rebuilding Hawks.
If scans confirm the serious leg injury, he will need to decide whether to hang up the boots or begin plotting a return late next year or – more likely – in 2025.
But that would rest on Hawthorn throwing him a bone with a coveted list spot.
“Obviously it looked pretty significant at the time. He’s been in such great form so I’m really sad for him,” Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said.
“We don’t know the extent of it at this stage.”
Hawthorn bull’s perfect response to cheeky question
Chad Wingard collapsed in the opening minutes of Hawthorn’s win. Credit: Getty
Wingard has already been sidelined with several injuries this year, including a nasty tongue laceration.
On Sunday, he returned from the rooms on crutches and received plenty of support from his teammates after the match.
“It’s a challenging one for all the boys because I think everyone’s really happy about the win, and then we’re all feeling for Chad,” Mitchell said.
The Hawks rallied around Wingard in the rooms. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
The mixed emotions came as Hawthorn backed up their stunning victory over ladder leaders Collingwood with a win that dented the Bulldogs’ finals hopes.
The 16th-placed Hawks held their nerve for a 9.13 (67) to 9.10 (64) triumph, their seventh of the season.
Jai Newcombe was outstanding for the Hawks in his 50th AFL game, picking up a game-high 40 disposals, a goal and two assists.
Mitchell was pleased with his team’s ability to win ugly ahead of their match against top-four side Melbourne.
“(But) we haven’t proven that we can play consistently high-level football,” he said.
“We’ve done it for two games in a row (earlier in the season) but can we do it for another two in the final games of the season?”
– with AAP
Sam Kerr’s ‘beautiful’ act of pure class sends young fan wild
Nathan Broad celebrates ‘big week’ with beautiful gesture
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.