Power wants more from Hawthorn to settle Wingard switch
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.