After weeks of angst and concern, Jake Stringer is finally a bomber as Adrian Dodoro was able to strike a deal with the Western Bulldogs. In somewhat of a surprise, it was the Dogs who ignited the possibility for Stringer to be traded, perhaps considering his myriad of off-field dramas to be detrimental to the playing group and their waning performance in 2017.
Despite it being clear the former number 5 draft pick wasn’t welcome back at The Kennel, the 2016 premiership club managed to snare a decent compensation, securing picks 25 and 30 for this year’s draft.
But the picks would be much higher if the trade was based on talent alone. There’s a fair chance that if Stringer didn’t break his leg as a junior his value in the draft could’ve been even higher, with his power, speed and general football sense incredible assets. In just his third year in the AFL system, the forward cemented himself as one of the league’s most exciting talents as he earned All-Australian honours in 2015, but since, his influence has been curtailed.
But at the spritely age of 23, there’s plenty of time for ‘The Package’ to get the most out of his incredible talent. Under new coach John Worsfold, Stringer will be given a new lease of life as a Don and is set to form one of the most potent forward line duos with Joe Daniher. The big man’s agility could also be used through the midfield, as Essendon look to cover the loss of stalwarts Watson, Stanton and Kelly.
We know that Daniher is still very young, but he threatens to take the league by storm. There’s absolutely no doubt that if Stringer can perform to an adequate level, at least some of the defensive spotlight will be directed away from Daniher and allow him to play with more freedom, and potentially increase his fantasy scoring ability. For the Dogs, it may mean that Marcus Bontempelli will have to spend more time inside 50 as a marking option which could go either way for the star mid. If the Dogs’ midfield can provide him with good delivery, his scoring could go through the roof, but he may struggle if he receives a lack of supply. Stewart Crameri could also find himself back in the frame and would come at a discounted price after only managing two games at AFL level in 2017.
For a player who only managed to average 64.7 SuperCoach points in 2017, Jake Stringer has so much upside. If he settles into his new environment well and everything clicks, we may just see ‘The Package’ explode and deliver us a forward-line player who can average 90+, but that’s a BIG if.