Wingard heartbroken by Port break-up: Polec
A "HEARTBROKEN" Chad Wingard's head was in "no man's land" when he made the shock decision to quit Port Adelaide, according to outgoing former Power teammate Jared Polec.
Polec who has taken up a $3.5 million, five-year deal to join at North Melbourne said Wingard was hurting when he made the decision to pursue a move to Hawthorn during the AFL trade period despite still having a year left on his contract at the Power.
"I've spoken to him a few times about it, not during the season, but after the season," Polec told Channel Nine's The Trade Table on Monday night.
"His head was kind of in no man's land at that stage and I believe that he's heartbroken.
"He loves the club, anyone that speaks to him knows he loves Port Adelaide.
"It was a bit of a shock decision."
The Advertiser reported on Monday night Wingard's trade to Hawthorn is a step closer with the Power prepared to progress the deal with contracted South Australian Hawks defender Ryan Burton and pick 15 at the draft.
Power officials on Monday travelled to Las Vegas where Burton is holidaying to make its own physical assessment of the 21-year-old North Adelaide product.
If a deal can't be reached by Wednesday night's 8pm (SA time) deadline then Wingard will stay at Alberton.
The enigmatic Wingard, 25, released a cryptic social media message a fortnight ago telling fans they would hear his side of the story when "the time is right" and that "unless a statement comes from me or my management, don't listen to them".
Club great Kane Cornes said in the wake of the Instagram post that Power officials were "furious" about it.
On Monday night Cornes said Wingard was unhappy with his season-ending exit interview but that it was his work ethic that had put him on the chopping block.
"The only reason Wingard is leaving is because he's not feeling a lot of love for Ken Hinkley and perhaps more security and more finances from Hawthorn," Cornes said.
Polec, meanwhile, said there was no bad blood between himself and Ken Hinkley and that the Power coach understood his decision to leave, with the pair planning to catch up for lunch on return from his honeymoon.
"I grew up as a little kid in Adelaide barracking for them and it was a dream come true playing for Port, but unfortunately a new opportunity did arise and I had to take it and I am massively excited to play for North Melbourne," Polec said.
He disagreed with suggestions that the decision to bring in experienced trio Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts and Steven Motlop for the 2018 season was wrong after the Power failed to make finals, but said the team had struggled to adapt to a new game plan.
"I don't think the recruiting was off, I just think we played to a certain structure that didn't quite work well for our side," Polec said.
"We tried going a new way, tried to structure a bit differently, but it didn't quite work."
He was confident changes would be made at the Power in the off-season and "they'll be better off for it".