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Wingard rises to the top


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Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is reluctant to enter the debate.

Just where does his trump card Chad Wingard rate? Has any player produced a better first 50 AFL games?

“It’s a really hard question to ask me because I’m a bit emotionally attached,” Hinkley said after Wingard’s match-winning five-goal display against Fremantle on Saturday.

“Chad is a great player and going to get better. I know he’s going to get better, that is a given.

“I have been around some really talented players in my time … the only thing I will say is: if you drop off, you won’t get where you want to go. Chad won’t drop off.”

Wingard, who turns 21 in late July, is already a Port club champion and an All Australian.

And he’s modest. Wingard readily deflects accolades for his uncanny ability to bob up at pivotal times and influence games.

“I don’t just wait for that moment. I’m actually trying to do whatever I can 100 per cent of the time,” Wingard said after his eye-catching 50th AFL match.

“Sometimes I step up … but the whole team is doing that, not just myself.”

Wingard’s heroics lifted Port to top of the AFL ladder but he said the club was not satisfied.

“We are not going to be content,” he said.

“We’re going to keep fighting and not defend our position, we’re going to attack it.”

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