Hawks pip Dogs in race for Wingard
HAWTHORN is in the box seat to secure Chad Wingard after the Port Adelaide playmaker ruled out a move to the Western Bulldogs.
The Herald Sun understands the Wingard camp called the Bulldogs today to inform them he would only play for the Hawks or Power next season.
It is now up to Hawthorn to strike a trade for Wingard given he is contracted at Alberton in 2019.
It would be the second year in a row the Hawks have beaten the Bulldogs for a Port Adelaide player's signature after they secured Jarman Impey last year.
Wingard reportedly went to Dogs coach Luke Beveridge's house for dinner recently and the club was optimistic it would land him.
But after missing out on Tom Lynch and Dylan Shiel the Hawks upped the ante look set to reel in another big fish.
Wingard would help replace retired champion Cyril Rioli in coach Alastair Clarkson's forward line next season.
The Hawks hold draft picks No.15 and 35 and have long been happy to trade away their prized selections.
If Port Adelaide secured Hawthorn's first-round pick it would boast selections No.6, 10 and 15 as it targets star South Australian teenagers Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine.
That draft hand could allow Port to move even further up the order, potentially targeting Gold Coast's No.2 and 3 selections.
The Bulldogs were hoping to use their future first-round pick for Wingard but Port's preference was to secure their first selection this year, No.7.
Wingard is close mates with Impey as well as Bulldog Jackson Trengove, who crossed from Port Adelaide to Whitten Oval last year.
On Wednesday Trengove posted on Instagram a photo of him, Impey and Port Adelaide midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper with the caption: "@chadwingard ... pick one".
The post was deleted hours later.