In limbo, but Port ‘not going to force’ Wingard out
CHAD Wingard's future remains in limbo, with Port Adelaide saying he has yet to recommit to the club and is continuing to test the market.
Football manager Chris Davies indicated that while the star playmaker is contracted for 2019 the ball is in Wingard's court and that if he wants to move it will consider facilitating a trade.
"He hasn't given us a guarantee (about his future),'' Davies told AFL Trade Radio while suggesting his club is closing in on a deal with West Coast premiership ruckman Scott Lycett.
"Chad is contracted for next year and while there is nothing to suggest that he wants to leave our footy club it's his prerogative to have a look at his long-term future.
"He, with his manager Tom Petroro, is going through the process of assessing where his value is at and we've been comfortable with that happening.
"He'll make an assessment of what's out there and come back to us.
"Unless Chad gets to a point where he's got an offer on the table that suggests he wants to leave - and right now that hasn't happened - then we plan for him to stay next year.''
Davies declared Port is "not going to force Chad out'' a year before the dual All-Australian falls out of contract and becomes a restricted free agent in order to cash in on his value while it can.
"If he wants to stay here in 2019 then he'll be here,'' he said.
"Right now we expect Chad to be at our club to the end of the trade period but it is in Chad and Tom's court and will obviously be driven by where Chad wants to end up.
"We are happy to be really pragmatic in this situation and allow Chad to make an assessment.''
The Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn are understood to be Wingard's biggest suitors but are not offering the $1 million a year he is reported to be seeking.
The Dogs could offer draft pick six for Wingard, which would appeal to the Power as it tries to get its teeth into a draft with plenty of high-end South Australian talent.
Davies said Port was yet to have discussions with any club about Wingard's future.
"Because until Chad suggests that he doesn't want to be at our footy club anymore there's no point having discussions with anyone,'' he said.
The Power will lose speedy wingman Jared Polec to North Melbourne and should be compensated with draft pick 10 or 11.
That would give it four draft selections inside the top 27.
Davies said coach Ken Hinkley had spoken to Lycett, who could be at the club for a medical assessment as early as today, and that Port is "at the front of the queue'' for the former Port Adelaide Magpie if he decides to leave the Eagles, as expected, as a restricted free agent.
It is understood the Power has offered him a five-year contract worth about $3 million.
"We're certainly interested in Scott Lycett,'' Davies said.
"Certainly from a Port Adelaide perspective we understand that we are really heavily reliant on (No. 1 ruckman) Paddy Ryder and we want to make sure we've got some quality help for Paddy.
"I would imagine that by the weekend we would have a better understanding of where Scott wants to end up.''
Davies confirmed fringe Power players Jack Hombsch, Jasper Pittard and Karl Amon had been given licence to pursue opportunities with other clubs, despite having another year to run on their contracts.
But he said star defender Tom Jonas, who also has a year to run on his deal but has been linked with Sydney, is going nowhere.
He indicated Jonas is close to agreeing to a contract extension to stay at Alberton.
"Tom has been a long-term player at our footy club and we are negotiating in good faith with his manager at the moment to extend that period of time,'' Davies said.