Burgoyne hails Wingard ability

19 February 2019 02:07:29 EST

Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne is backing new recruit Chad Wingard to make a difference to the team this year.

The Hawks traded in Wingard last October, after he spent his first seven AFL seasons with Port Adelaide.

The 25-year-old had played at least 19 games in each of his campaigns for the Power, and was their leading goalkicker in both 2015 and 2016.

Burgoyne says he's a matchwinner, and is looking forward to linking up with him during the JLT Community Series.

Wingard has pulled out of the AFLX tournament, which begins on Friday, due to a calf injury he's been managing.

But Burgoyne said it was only a minor setback, adding: "You can see when he has trained, he's a star, so I'm looking forward to him finishing off his pre-season and getting stuck into games.

Burgoyne said Wingard, who is a two-time All-Australian, had very good knowledge of the game and was passing it on to the younger players in the squad.

"He's a genuine matchwinner on his day so we're looking forward to him adapting to our style and taking his game to the next level," he added. "It's up to him where he wants to go with his career but I'm definitely happy to have him at Hawthorn."

Meanwhile, Melbourne draftee Aaron Nietschke will be sidelined for his first AFL season after rupturing his ACL in training.

The 18-year-old, who was recruited with pick No.53 in last year's AFL Draft, injured his right knee in a closed training session at Casey Fields on Friday.

Demons football manager Josh Mahoney said scans had confirmed he had a ruptured ACL, and was expected to sit out the whole of the campaign.

Melbourne are 50/1 to win the Grand Final, while the Demons are 40/1 to finish in the top four.

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