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Collingwood met with delisted Hawk Chad Wingard hours before the free agency window closed, and less than 24 hours after he was cut by Hawthorn, but the small forward wants to roll the dice on returning to the Hawks as a rookie.
Wingard, who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon injury, did a medical at Collingwood on Friday and met with coach Craig McRae and football boss Graham Wright, both of whom knew him well from their previous jobs at Hawthorn.
Hawthorn’s Chad Wingard celebrates a goal. Credit: Getty Images
Mindful of his long-term injury, the Hawks delisted Wingard on Thursday with the Hawks intent on re-selecting the 30-year-old in the rookie draft. The move to try to shift him to the rookie list opened up an extra place on their primary list and moved some money out of their salary cap.
But that plan always came with the risk that either Wingard could choose to go elsewhere as a delisted free agent, or that another club could select him in either the national draft or the rookie draft if they had a pick ahead of the Hawks.
The risk he could be taken by another club in the national draft remains alive, but despite Wingard having discussions with Collingwood on Friday, a source with knowledge of his situation but who wasn’t authorised to speak publicly said he wanted to try to stick to the plan to return to Hawthorn on the rookie list.
The former All-Australian is recovering from the injury he suffered in round 22 this year, which will sideline him for a significant part of next season.
The Hawks re-signed Wingard on a new one-year deal in September, soon after he suffered his Achilles injury.
Wingard, who started his career at Port Adelaide, has played 218 games over the past 12 years.
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