Hawthorn recruit Chad Wingard says switching to the Hawks is the AFL challenge he desperately needs.Ex-Port Adelaide star Chad Wingard says he feels uncomfortable playing for Hawthorn.
But that’s a good thing.
Drafted by Port in 2011, Wingard thought he’d be a one-club AFL player but now believes moving to the Hawks on a five-year deal is the best thing for his game and for him as a person.
Wingard admitted he had become “complacent” at the Power, who finished the season in 10th spot, with his large family and friends close by.
“I was very comfortable with where I was at and that can be a very dangerous place to be,” he said on Friday at the Hawks headquarters.
“This is very uncomfortable for me to be in Melbourne playing for another team and that’s the challenge that I need.”
The 25-year-old goalsneak said that he didn’t finish the AFL season intending to leave the Power.
But when Port told him they were open to him exploring other opportunities he knew it was time to move on.
“I needed a change in my career and something to revitalise myself and not get stagnant and comfortable where I was at.
“I needed a new challenge and that’s why I chose the Hawks.
“I’ve seen how successful they’ve been in the last two decades and with Alastair Clarkson all the players who have come here have improved their game and that’s pretty much the reason I came here.
“Being valued and wanted is a huge thing and I felt that from Hawthorn.”
Wingard addressed rumours he was upset by his exit interview with Port coach Ken Hinkley, which prompted his departure.
He said his only disappointment was that he didn’t feel he got enough feedback on the issues through the season.
“Nothing outrageous happened in that meeting, it was pretty honest conversation,” Wingard said
“There was things I was told to work on, including my attitude – to come to training with a better mindset – and I was happy to do that but I didn’t get told that during the year.
“There’s no bad blood at all, I love the club, they gave me my opportunity to play AFL and I’m very grateful for that.”
He said he was open to playing anywhere the Hawks needed him, whether that be in the midfield or forward, replacing retired champion Cyril Rioli.
“I want to win the premiership for the team so whatever Clarko thinks and whatever the club needs.
“I’m just here to help the team.”