JAKE Stringer is a cult hero in the AFL. Fans gravitate towards his exciting style of play and he has proved to be an ‘x-factor’ type talent ever since the Western Bulldogs drafted him 5th overall in 2012. In the past week though, reports have surfaced about the forward affectionately known as ‘The Package’ moving clubs in the offseason and head coach Luke Beveridge later confirmed these claims saying the star forward is on the trade table. Here are the early candidates keen on securing his services.
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IN his short 89 game career to date, Stringer has showcased his ability to swing a single match and excite fans throughout the league in the process. With 160 goals to his name so far he was an integral part of the Bulldogs drought breaking premiership in 2016 and at the age of 23, it’s likely that he still hasn’t hit his prime and he has his best days in front of him. Which squads could benefit the most from his talents?
PERSONALLY, I think that a move to the Dons would be perfect for Stringer. There are plenty of pieces that the Bombers could part with to manufacture a deal with the Bulldogs and a lack of firepower was an issue for Essendon last season. Pairing ‘The Package’ next to a forward line that already boasts Joe Daniher, Ozazio Fantasia and Cale Hooker could be a masterstroke that helps them take the next step.
ST Kilda tried to get ahead of the curve and find Nick Riewoldt’s replacement a few years ago before his inevitable departure. Unfortunately, Paddy McCartin (the 1st overall pick in the ’14 draft) hasn’t developed into the star that they thought he would. Although at the age of 21 he still has time to become a decent AFL player and the Saints still have a competent group of talls with Tim Membery and Josh Bruce up front. Adding Jake Stringer could give them the medium forward to help solve their goal kicking problems though.
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ANY deal in which Stringer departs the Bulldogs would have to be structured via a trade, with the forward still contracted for the 2018 season at Footscray. Yet, despite all this speculation and drama about a potential move, Stringer could very well remain at the Dogs next season and beyond. Sure, he may have to mend a few bridges and sit down with players and coaches to repair any damage done to their relationship, but he has helped deliver a premiership for the Bulldogs and is a fan favourite of the club.
THE Cats have apparently expressed interest in trading in ‘The Package’ to help them keep their premiership window open. Geelong is on the cusp of claiming another flag and have a well-established list with the right mix of experience and youth to keep them in contention for a few seasons still. They don’t desperately need Stringer’s talents in their forward line with plenty of goalkicking prowess at the Cattery, but if you can find a way to bring Jake Stringer in for the right price, you do it.
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AT this stage you can’t rule out any club as a potential landing spot for Stringer after the trade season. It seems like the Victorian won’t be leaving the state of football though, leaving the likes of North Melbourne, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Carlton, Richmond and Collingwood in the mix. Of those squads, the Roos are the most likely team to snap up Stringer.
STRINGER was just one in a long list of Bulldogs who had a down year with the dreaded ‘premiership hangover’ in full effect. They could still compete for a flag next year with their young list, but it seems like Stringer is as good as gone. It won’t be the end of the world for the Bulldogs and I highlighted earlier that I think the Bombers are his most likely landing place.
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