Power wants more from Hawthorn to set­tle Win­gard switch

NT News - - SPORT - MICHELAN­GELO RUCCI

PORT Ade­laide wants more than draft pick No. 15 and a re­luc­tant Ryan Bur­ton from Hawthorn to re­lease con­tracted mid­fielder-for­ward Chad Win­gard be­fore Wed­nes­day’s AFL trade dead­line.

And there is still a ques­tion mark – on the Power’s part – whether Bur­ton is right for the ma­jor re­fit of the Port Ade­laide squad that is al­ready well stocked in de­fence and at­tack.

The first part of the an­swers on Bur­ton should come at the week­end in the US with a med­i­cal that is rel­e­vant con­sid­er­ing his in­jury record. The Power has two of its fit­ness staff over­seas and primed to med­i­cally test Bur­ton as the South Aus­tralian hol­i­days in Las Ve­gas. More press­ing for Port Ade­laide is an­swer­ing if a long-stand­ing in­ter­est at Al­ber­ton in 21-year-old Bur­ton is still rel­e­vant.

Crit­i­cal for Port Ade­laide is un­der­stand­ing how 47-game Bur­ton can an­swer a need in the mid­field – and whether the con­tracted Hawk is will­ing to ac­cept a home­com­ing trade.

But not in doubt is how hard Port Ade­laide will push a trade for Win­gard while know­ing the 25-year-old play­maker is com­pelled to re­turn to Al­ber­ton to com­plete his con­tract if there is not a sat­is­fac­tory deal on of­fer from the Hawks.

Cer­tainly the other Hawthorn play­ers be­ing at­tached to a po­ten­tial trade – novice mid­fielder Kieran Lovell and key for­ward Tim O’Brien – will not close the Win­gard trade.

It is in­creas­ingly likely trade talks will have Port Ade­laide par­cel mid­fielder-for­ward Karl Amon – who needs to re­turn to Mel­bourne for fam­ily rea­sons – into a multi-lay­ered deal.

Port Ade­laide runs the risk of los­ing Win­gard next sea­son – with only one first-round draft pick as com­pen­sa­tion – as a free agent. But the Power also knows Win­gard would need to play at his best to strengthen his salary value in the AFL mar­ket af­ter get­ting a re­buff to $1 mil­lion-a-sea­son re­quests in this trade pe­riod.

The Win­gard-Bur­ton trade play does have ma­jor PR bur­dens on both Port Ade­laide and Hawthorn where club fans are ques­tion­ing how both play­ers can be lost to their teams.

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