Collingwood have launched a bold ploy to recruit Hawthorn veteran Chad Wingard.
Wingard, 30, was delisted by the Hawks during the week with a promise to be re-drafted on the rookie list.
It’s a move many clubs do to balance list spots during the off-season. The Hawks also have two father-son prospects in Will McCabe and Calsher Dear and might need multiple draft picks to match potential bids.
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But it’s also a risky move as it means rival clubs can swoop in and sign the delisted player to a better deal.
The Age on Friday night reported Wingard has met with Collingwood twice in the past month.
The first time was just before the free agency window closed, while the second meeting, which included a medical at the club, happened just after he was delisted.
Hawthorn are hoping to re-draft Chad Wingard as a rookie. Credit: Getty Images
While Wingard is reportedly keen to return to the Hawks as a rookie, the lure of the reigning premiers could prevail given Hawthorn are still very much rebuilding.
If Wingard was to land at Collingwood, it would be a nearly identical situation to Hugh Greenwood’s move from Gold Coast to North Melbourne two years ago.
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The Suns delisted Greenwood at the end of 2021 intending to re-draft him as a rookie, but the Kangaroos swooped in and signed the midfielder as a delisted free agent.
Wingard, a two-time All-Australian, has played 218 games over a dozen seasons with Hawthorn and Port Adelaide.
A ruptured Achilles ended Wingard’s 2023 campaign early, but he is targeting a mid-season return in 2024.
The Hawks also delisted midfielder Cooper Stephens with the promise of re-drafting him as a rookie.
Stephens joined the Hawks from Geelong during the 2022 trade period and is yet to add to his seven AFL games with his new club.
Meanwhile, St Kilda have left the door open for Daniel McKenzie to be re-drafted after opting not to give the injury-prone midfielder a contract for next year.
McKenzie did not play a senior game in 2023 because of repeated calf injuries.
The 27-year-old will train with the Saints over summer and could re-join the list through the pre-season supplemental selection period.
– With AAP
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