Under-contract Wingard has nominated power club Hawthorn as his preferred destination, with the Hawks also in the running for a surprise play on a key GWS midfielder.
In a productive morning of trades, St Kilda signed Sydney vice-captain Dan Hannebery on a five-year deal, completing the deal well before before Wednesday’s deadline for AFL trades.
The Saints exchanged pick No.39 and their second-round selection in the 2019 draft to acquire Hannebery and pick No.28.
St Kilda also completed a deal to recruit Melbourne’s Dean Kent, offloading their fourth-round selection (pick No.65).
Demon midfielder Dom Tyson’s move to North Melbourne has also been rubber stamped.
The Kangaroos swapped ruckman Brayden Preuss and Pick No.62 for Tyson.
The Hannebery deal has freed up significant salary-cap space at the SCG, where the star was contracted until 2021 and understood to be earning approximately $800,000 a season.
Hannebery’s form was patchy this season during which he dealt with several injury setbacks.
The 27-year-old admitted last month he’d been “pretty sore and banged up” at times over the past two seasons but is now “feeling great”.
The 2012 premiership winner was among the league’s best on-ballers in his prime, as evidence by the fact he is a three-time All Australian.
“He is a respected leader and someone with a lot of finals experience, which will be invaluable for our young group on and off the field,” Saints football manager Simon Lethlean said.
Hannebery, who was drafted in 2008 and famously made his AFL debut while still completing Year 12 in Melbourne, has played 22 finals in a 208-game career.
“I loved my time at the Swans and will be forever grateful for the opportunities and experiences I had there,” Hannebery said.
“I moved to Sydney when I was 17 and now, 10 years later, it’s the perfect time for me to come back to my family in Melbourne.”
Meanwhile, the salary cap squeeze at GWS is set to claim another victim with Tom Scully eyeing a move to Hawthorn.
The former No.1 pick for Melbourne at the 2009 draft is believed to have requested a go-home trade to the Hawks after 121 games in seven seasons with GWS.
The Giants have been at pains to dismiss the notion a fire sale of talent is required for them to come in under the cap in 2019.
But if Scully joins Dylan Shiel (Essendon), Rory Lobb (Fremantle), Will Setterfield (Carlton) and possibly Jeremy Finlayson in departing it will indicate the league’s youngest club is grappling with a major salary cap problem.
GWS football chief Wayne Campbell has conceded the club has known a squeeze was coming for a couple of years, with the Giants starting to see the flip side of their successful list build.
“People prior to me did a magnificent job of assembling some really good talent and we’re seven years into it now and a lot of those players are coming into their prime in playing ability and earning capacity,” Campbell said on AFL Trade Radio this week.
“We probably have more of those than most.
“We then (brought in) guys like Shane Mumford, Heath Shaw, Brett Deledio and Ryan Griffen to have a go at a flag and we’ve got close over the last three years but we haven’t made it to a grand final.
“That’s added up to a situation … where we’ll be needing to shed some players.”
That scenario continues a concerning trend for the Giants, who have regularly shed stars like Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams, Tom Boyd, Willl Hoskin-Elliott and Cam McCarthy in recent years.
Devon Smith (Essendon) and Nathan Wilson (Fremantle) also departed last year and North Melbourne will come hard for Josh Kelly again at the end of next year.
After missing out on Shiel and Gold Coast free agent Tom Lynch, the Hawks are muscling their way into trade period in no uncertain terms.
Yesterday, mercurial Port Adelaide forward Chad Wingard declared he wants to play for Alastair Clarkson from next season and now Scully appears set to follow suit.
It remains to be seen how Hawthorn gets both deals done.
The Hawks’ first two draft picks are currently No.15 and No.35, with contracted young South Australian defender Ryan Burton reported to be mulling his part in a possible swap for Wingard.
Power football manager Chris Davies insists a deal won’t happen unless his team are “suitably compensated” for Wingard, a dual All-Australian who is contracted to the club until the end of the 2019 season.
– with AAP
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