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Stringer finally becomes a Bomber

Nick Bowen  October 19, 2017 2:23 PM

Get excited: Dons land Stringer Jake Stringer gives Essendon class and x-factor around goals

Keep up with all the deals with the Trade Tracker
All the latest trade and free agency news
Indicative draft order: Keep up to date with all the picks
Who's hanging up the boots? Keep track of 2017's retirements and delistings
 

JAKE Stringer is finally a Bomber after the Western Bulldogs and Essendon clinched a deal for the disgruntled forward less than 90 minutes before the end of the NAB AFL Trade Period.

After protracted talks that dragged on for nearly three weeks, the Bulldogs agreed on Thursday to send the contracted Stringer to Tullamarine for picks Nos.25 and 30.

The Dogs are now expected to pursue a trade of those second-round selections for Carlton's pick No.16.

The Bulldogs put Stringer on the trade table after the club's disappointing premiership defence this season.

The Bombers soon emerged as his keenest suitor ahead of Geelong, but their talks with the Bulldogs hit a major hurdle last week when they traded the pick No.11 the Dogs coveted for Stringer to Greater Western Sydney for Devon Smith.

Stringer's exit from the Dogs comes amid the club's disappointment with his lack of off-field professionalism and explosive reports about his personal life. 

His manager Robbie D'Orazio admitted there were concerns that his client wouldn't be able to get to the Dons.

"Obviously it took a little bit longer than we expected. Jake’s over the moon, currently overseas and can’t wait to get down and start training with his new teammates," he said.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit worried but everybody put their heads together and got the deal done. 

"In hindsight, he probably would've had an opportunity to go back and play another year of football. That’s what we wanted, we didn’t want him to sit out."

It's believed Stringer will join Essendon on a contract worth about $550,000 a season.

Stringer played 89 games and kicked 160 goals for the Bulldogs after being taken at pick No.5 in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft.

The former Bendigo Pioneer quickly emerged as one of the competition's most exciting young talents. At 192cm, he was a difficult match-up in attack, with his explosive speed, strength and height, while he could pinch-hit in the midfield with devastating effect.

Stringer won All Australian selection in this third season, 2015, after topping the Dogs' goalkicking with 56 in 22 games, and finishing seventh in the club's best and fairest award.

He could not maintain that form in 2016 and spent two weeks in the VFL late in the season before returning to be part of the Bulldogs' fairytale finals run to their second premiership. Despite his inconsistency, Stringer again led the Dogs' goalkicking with 42 majors. 

Stringer endured an even tougher 2017. Hamstring and knee injuries limited him to 16 games, while he managed just 24.26 in front of goal.

The Dons were thrilled to secure the disgruntled Bulldog and their forward line for 2018 shapes as an imposing one.

"I think the celebration for our football club is that we’re relevant again and we’re respected in the industry and we’re playing finals. It’s just great that players want to come to our club," Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro said.  

"We’ve fixed up some areas of our list that we needed to address with guys that are 23 years of age and will be at the club for many years to come.

"We’ve had some honest dialogue with Jake … and he’s been upfront with all of his issues. 

"We’ve spoken to as many people as we possibly can and he knows he’s got a little bit of work to do, but we think we’ve got the infrastructure and the support around him to get the very best out of him for a long time to come."

 

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