Jake Stringer, a Premiership player and All Australian at just 23, will be playing in a different guernsey in 2018 after it was revealed the Western Bulldogs will be looking to part ways with him in this year’s upcoming trade period (October 9th-19th).
Stringer has battled poor form since late 2016 when he found himself playing for Footscray in the VFL. He only averaged 12 disposals and the once-proven goal kicker finished with 24 goals to his name this year, much fewer than his 2016 total of 42 and his breakout year 2015, when he kicked 56.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge confirmed the move, saying it was in the best interests of both parties, but also acknowledge that Stringer is still under contract with the 2016 premiers.
“Jake’s management and the club got together and both agreed we’d explore alternatives to him playing at the club and explore what’s right for his long-term future and the club’s,’’ Beveridge said on September 13.
“We’ve said to him, ‘you’re going to play here mate if no one is going to treat you with the respect you should have as far as what you have achieved, because we need to do what’s right for the club as much as you as well’.”
Nicknamed ‘The Package’, Stringer said he was shocked and upset by the trade but conceded he could have done things better this year, but has learned a lot from it and looks forward to his future.
“There’s just a whole lot of things I could have done better, whether it was training or games. It’s just the whole-life sort of thing for me,” Stringer said.
However, on September 30, Stringer’s ex partner Abby Gilmore revealed the reason behind their split. In an article in the Herald Sun, Gilmore, the mother of Stringer’s two children, claimed Stringer had a number of affairs and a gambling problem during their relationship.
Herald Sun writer Mark Robinson believes that the shocking revelation will hurt Stringer’s trade value, but believes he will find his way to another club.
“It decreases his value, there’s no doubt it does, but it’s not going to stop clubs trying to recruit him,” he said.
Robinson also told the Superfooty podcast that he has spoken to a coach from a club initially interested in Stringer.
“I spoke to a coach on Friday and he said ‘no, we’re out of Jake Stringer, we’ve done our homework, we’re out’,” Robinson said.
Geelong, Essendon and St Kilda were said to be the clubs interested in acquiring the 2015 All Australian, with SEN News breaker Sam McClure saying it was down to the Cats and the Bombers after meetings with both teams.
“My understanding is … as the Grand Final ball is bounced on Saturday afternoon Jake Stringer will have nominated a club of choice, and it will either be Geelong or Essendon,” McClure said
“I’m not sure it will be public knowledge but Jake Stringer will tell his management which club he wants to go to.”
Geelong appears to be leading the race narrowly, with the reason coming down to the Cats off field leadership, but it is unclear whether the Cats’ first selection in this year’s draft (Pick 20) will be enough to satisfy the Bulldogs.
The Bombers have pick 11 but it is believed they would like to hold onto that selection.