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Hawthorn comfortable with Wingard form, still waiting on Birchall


Graham Wright insists he is not worried about Chad Wingard’s slow start to life at Hawthorn.

The 25-year-old has kicked six goals and averaged just 13.6 possessions (his lowest return since his debut season) in his first five games for the Hawks after making the move from Port Adelaide in last year’s trade period.

Apart from a three-goal showing on debut, Wingard’s overall form in the brown and gold has been below par, highlighted by a dressing down from Jarryd Roughead and Paul Puopolo at half-time of the weekend’s loss to Melbourne.

However, GM of Football Wright is not too perturbed, insisting it will take time for Wingard to adapt at his new club.

Asked on SEN Breakfast if Wingard will deliver what the club expects him to, Wright said: “I think he certainly will.

“I think Chad’s form hasn’t been fantastic but he’s one of those guys that is in the same boat as a few others (in the past).

“We’ve probably had a lot of guys come in over a long period of time, right back to Shaun Burgoyne, who have come in and taken some time for them to settle in.

“Chad’s 25 years old, a dual All-Australian, a Best and Fairest winner, he’s a high-quality player. We know that this is a long-term approach to it, not a four or five-week approach.

“We know he’ll improve as he goes on. He had a little bit of an interrupted back half of the pre-season so from that point of view, he’s just been getting fitness and learning how we play and that just takes some time.”

Wright also gave an update on veteran Grant Birchall who has not played since 2017 because of knee problems.

“He’s still, at this stage, indefinite when he comes back,” Wright added.

“He is running now and he’s been continuing to gather. In relation to his fitness, it’s just going to take some time.

“We’d be expecting him hopefully sometime around the bye.

“He’s had a couple of setbacks as everybody knows. It’s been very frustrating for him.

“Pleasingly, his knee is in a good place. That’s a real positive for him. He’s had the odd soft tissue complaint, which is obviously very frustrating for him and us, but hopefully (he’s) not too far away.”

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And with the very first AFL mid-season draft approaching, Wright was non-committal on whether the Hawks will be active.

“We do that have option available to us with Tim Mohr being out for the season,” he said.

“We’ll just have to work through whether we activate that or not. We may do, we just haven’t made that decision yet.”

The Hawks currently sit 13th on the ladder with a record of 3-4 ahead of Sunday’s clash with GWS at the MCG.

Hawthorn Chad WINGARD Grant BIRCHALL SEN Breakfast

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