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GEELONG legend Jimmy Bartel has backed his former club to get the best out of Jake Stringer if he lands at the Cats during this year's NAB AFL Trade Period.
Stringer became a shock focus of this year's off-season when the Western Bulldogs placed him on the trade table after losing patience with their 2016 premiership forward, who has booted 160 goals from his 89 games in five seasons with the club.
The 23-year-old kicked just 24 goals from 16 games this season and plenty of questions have been raised about his professionalism off the field, leading to the Dogs' moving him on, with Geelong and Essendon the two clubs in contention for his services.
Stringer's personal life also hit the headlines in recent times, but speaking on NAB AFL Trade Radio on Wednesday, Bartel said his obvious talent made him an attractive prospect, and the Cats could help the 2015 All Australian turn his career and life around.
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"If you back your culture and leadership, and you back Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield and the coach in Chris Scott, to put him in an environment to thrive, then he's a good pick," he said.
"Essendon would be thinking the same thing with their leadership group and John Worsfold.
"It's about the football first, and then you put the right people around him to help him turn into a more mature and better person off the field.
"I just don't think you give up on someone who is 23, can kick you 40 goals in a bad year and 50+ in a good year, and has been an All Australian."
Stringer's manager Robbie D'Orazio confirmed on NAB AFL Trade Radio he had met with Essendon again on Wednesday and expects the forward to make his decision between the Bombers and the Cats in the next 24 to 48 hours.
"It's a really holistic approach for Jake, he's a young man with two kids so it’s a unique situation," he said.
"We've got to pay respect to that, being a father first and then a footballer.
"Jake is looking for leadership on and off the ground at the club that he chooses, a strong coach, and obviously (he wants) some mentors around him."
The NAB AFL Trade Period officially begins on Monday October 9.