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Wingard caps stellar season with first John Cahill Medal

Chad Wingard of the Power celebrates during the 2013 2nd Elimination Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and Port Adelaide Power at the MCG, Melbourne on September 07, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Chad Wingard is the youngest best and fairest winner at Port Adelaide since Craig Bradley
Chad Wingard has capped off a magnificent second year in the AFL to win the John Cahill Medal as Port Adelaide’s best and fairest player for the 2013 season.

It comes just days after Wingard became Port Adelaide’s 21st All-Australian player, having been named in the forward pocket of the 2013 team.

At 20, he becomes the youngest player to win Port Adelaide’s highest honour since Craig Bradley was crowned best and fairest in 1982 at the age of 19.

Wingard won the John Cahill Medal ahead of Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak in second place and four-time best and fairest Kane Cornes in third.

He was drafted to Alberton with pick six in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft and made his debut in Round 1 the following year against St Kilda at AAMI Stadium.

Wingard showed early glimpses of his promise as an AFL footballer in 2012. He played 19 games and enjoyed a breakout performance in Round 22 against Brisbane, which led to his nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award.

A strong pre-season on the track proved instrumental to Wingard’s 2013 campaign. He played every match of Port Adelaide’s season, including two finals against Collingwood and Geelong.

Port Adelaide senior coach Ken Hinkley praised Wingard’s performance throughout the year, saying the Murray Bridge youngster was a deserving recipient of the John Cahill Medal.

“Chad has been a wonderful contributor to our football club this year and this award reflects what has been a really consistent season from him,” said Hinkley.

“It’s been a real pleasure to coach him over the past 12 months.

“The way he goes about his football, the ‘team’ things he does and the responsibility he has taken time and again on and off the field has been first class.

“It’s been a great season for him.

“Our team has been about belief and support for one another this year and Chad has lived that philosophy as much as anyone.

“We’re all looking forward to what he can do next year as part of our young and exciting team.”

Finishing second to Jay Schulz on the Power’s leading goal kicker table, Wingard proved a damaging forward option with a personal-best haul of five goals against the Adelaide Crows in Round 19.

But he was also effective playing through the midfield and averaged 21 disposals a game.

He polled in every round of the voting and was best on ground in four games: against Carlton (Round 8), Geelong (Round 9), Western Bulldogs (Round 10) and Adelaide (Round 19).

The award was voted by members of Port Adelaide’s match committee, comprising of senior coach Ken Hinkley, director of coaching and strategy Alan Richardson and assistant coaches Garry Hocking, Matthew Nicks and Shaun Rehn.

Every player is awarded between zero and five votes per game by each coach, with an emphasis on the best ‘all round’ player who fulfils their role, and is a smart and fair player. A player can therefore score a maximum of 25 votes and a minimum of none from any one game.

Wingard claimed the lead in the votes from his skipper Boak in Round 8 and was never headed.

Five other awards were presented during the evening.

Travis Boak was awarded the Fos Williams Medal, named for the club’s late patriarch and nine-time SANFL premiership coach Foster Neil Williams. Voted by the playing group for the teammate who best displays leadership, selflessness, professionalism, courage and loyalty, the award reflects Boak’s tireless and dedicated first year as Port Adelaide’s captain. This is the first time Boak has won this award.

Oliver Wines won the Gavin Wanganeen Medal after the coaches deemed him the Power’s best first year player under the age of 21. Wines played every game of the 2013 season after coming to Alberton via pick eight in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft.

Jack Hombsch won the inaugural John McCarthy Award, presented in memory of the late Port Adelaide player John McCarthy. The award recognises outstanding service to the community outside of the club.

Utility Justin Westhoff won the Coaches’ Award for being judged the player who best upheld the team values of ‘competitive’, ‘trust’ and ‘selflessness’.

Chad Wingard was also the people’s choice after being named the Renault Supporters’ Player of the Year. Power fans voted on a 3-2-1 basis for their best players from each round of the home-and-away season on portadelaidefc.com.au.

2013 John Cahill Medal awards and recipients

John Cahill Medallist: Chad Wingard
2nd place: Travis Boak
3rd place: Kane Cornes
4th place: Brad Ebert
5th place: Justin Westhoff

Fos Williams Medallist: Travis Boak
Gavin Wanganeen Medallist: Oliver Wines
Renault Supporters’ Player of the Year: Chad Wingard
John McCarthy Award: Jack Hombsch
Coaches’ Award: Justin Westhoff

Chad Wingard profile
DOB 29/07/1993 (age 20)
Drafted 2011 NAB AFL Draft, pick 6
Junior clubs Sturt, Imperials FC
Career games 43
Career goals 52
2013 most disposals 31 v GWS Giants (Round 12)
2013 most goals 5 v Adelaide Crows (Round 19)