Chad Wingard of Port Adelaide and David Mundy of the Fremantle Dockers during the finals AFL match between the the Fremantle Dockers and the Adelaide's Port Power at Patersons Stadium in Perth, Sept 13, 2014. Port Power won the match 105-83.
Chad Wingard of Port Adelaide and David Mundy of the Fremantle Dockers during the finals AFL match between the the Fremantle Dockers and the Adelaide's Port Power at Patersons Stadium in Perth, Sept 13, 2014. Port Power won the match 105-83. AAP Image - Tony McDonough

'The Undies': AFL’s biggest underachievers of 2014

A MONTH ago we were contemplating doing the previously unthinkable - giving Port Adelaide's Chad Wingard a berth in our annual 'Undies' team.

The Chad was going to be front and centre in the forward line in our line-up of the biggest under-performers of 2014, named a day before the AFL announces its All Australian team.

Setting some incredible standards, the 21-year-old marvel deservedly won his first AA jumper in 2013 after a breakout season that saw him boot 40 goals in his 22 home-and-away matches. He would slot another three in two finals.

But, after displaying brief glimpses of his best in the early rounds of 2014, arguably the most exciting young player in the game went through a bare patch, slotting just five goals over eight weeks as Port slumped from top of the table to fifth.

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It's hard to keep a good Chad down however, and Wingard is riding high again, kicking 11 goals in his past four games, including four to play a crucial role in the Power's semi-final win over Fremantle.

With now 42 goals in 23 matches this season, Wingard will hold the key to his team's chances of upsetting Hawthorn in their preliminary final next Saturday and powering into a grand final.

So, in the final wash-up, after six months of jockeying for position, here is the Undies line-up ...

BACKS
BRENT REILLY (Adel)

  • Coach Brenton Sanderson dropped him on the eve of his 200th game in round seven, after having "some goals kicked against him".
  • Only made it back for four more appearances.

JORDAN ROUGHEAD (WB)

  • Conceded more goals (37 in 15 games) than any other fullback, including eight to Bomber Jake Carlisle and six to his cousin, Hawk Jarryd Roughead, in consecutive weeks.

DANIEL MERRETT (BL)

  • Poor Rog was given the run around in defence early and then could only manage 12 goals when moved forward. Though much-loved, he may even be on the outer at Brisbane, with Gold Coast believed to be interested.

AARON MULLETT (NM)

  • Struggled to back up his breakout year in 2013 after missing pre-season with an ankle injury, average disposals down from 19 to 14, and was chopped before finals.

MICHAEL TALIA (WB)

  • A Rising Star nominee in 2013, was supposed to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Crow Daniel Talia, and hold down a key defensive post, but was confined to the VFL for all but three senior games.

LUKE TAPSCOTT (Melb)

  • Built like the proverbial brick outhouse, the former first-round draft pick's career is going down the drain. Made just three senior appearances late and failed to make an impact (31 touches in total).


MIDFIELDERS
MATT SHAW (GC)

  • Came under fire from coach Guy McKenna, who expects more from the fourth-year wingman than the 15 disposals (down from 19 in 2013) and career-low 1.5 forward-50m entries on average he gathered.

DANE SWAN (Coll)

  • Coach Nathan Buckley said he had a "poor year" ... by his standards. Still averaged almost 25 disposals, but well down on the 30-plus over the previous five seasons. And hadn 't kicked so few goals (11) since 2005.

CLANCEE PEARCE (Frem)

  • The outside runner signed a new contract over summer but went cold in winter. Dominated in the WAFL while struggling in the AFL, playing nine games and averaging 13 disposals and just one tackle.

ROBERT WARNOCK (Carl)

  • The ruckman averaged a high 34 hitouts, but took a paltry 14 marks in 16 games and was ultimately dropped in favour of the twice-axed Cameron Wood (Brisbane, Collingwood).

DALE THOMAS (Carl)

  • Couldn't justify his $700,000-a-season price tag, gathering less than 20 disposals in 15 of his 20 games (at an average of 17). At his best for the Magpies was averaging 25.

SHARROD WELLINGHAM (WC)

  • Has only played 23 of a possible 44 games since crossing from Collingwood. The Magpie premiership player was dropped three times this season for "being lazy", before an ankle injury ended his season in which he averaged just 17 disposals.


FORWARDS
COLIN SYLVIA (Frem)

  • New club, same outcome, with the former No.3 draft pick (2003) winning his third-straight 'Undies' jumper. Freo wanted him to help boost its scoring power but kicked one goal in six games.

TRAVIS CLOKE (Coll)

  • Booted just 39 goals in 20 games after hauls of 68 (2013), 59 (2012) and 69 (2010). But, most significantly, lost his contested mark crown by taking just 32 after registering 58 (2013), 73 (2012) and 95 (2011).

JARRAD GRANT (WB)

  • The No.4 draft pick (2007) won a contract extension with a 10-goal haul in three games late last year but booted three major in his next seven, including two from four this year. Just beat teammate Liam Jones for a spot.

TOM LEE (StK)

  • While St Kilda cried out for more support for Nick Riewoldt, he failed to answer the call. Defenders wiped the floor with the mature-age forward with the mop of blonde hair, restricting him to one goal in three games after slotting 17 in 10 in his debut season.

JEREMY CAMERON (GWS)

  • An All Australian in 2013 when kicking 62 goals in 21 games, injuries severely hampered his output this season - just 29 goals in 14 games. He'll be back bigger and better.

JEFF GARLETT (Carl)

  • Had the run of the attacking 50m, with Eddie Betts (Adelaide) and Chris Yarran (defence) gone, but the ill disciplined crumber kicked 12 goals in nine games after hauls of 43 (2013), 29 (2012), 48 (2011) and 39 (2010).


INTERCHANGE

  • RHYS STANLEY (StK)
  • LEIGH MONTAGNA (StK)
  • JIMMY TOUMPAS (Melb)
  • MITCH ROBINSON (Carl)


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