Essendon went through an exhaustive due diligence process before they decided to recruit former Western Bulldogs’ forward Jake Stringer.
The Bombers were the only club to make a serious offer for Stringer after the Bulldogs told him to explore his options despite having one season remaining on his contract, although he also met with Geelong.
Bombers’ CEO Xavier Campbell said he met with Stringer three times and also met the player’s parents in order to get a feel for what had happened in Stringer’s life in recent years.
Stringer’s form dropped off in the past two seasons following his 2015 season where he was All-Australian, and aspects of his lifestyle were exposed in the media on grand final day before the trade happened.
Campbell told SEN on Wednesday that it was important the club understood the player’s circumstances before committing to put him on the list.
“I met with Jake one-on-one early and I probably met with him two-to-three times after that, one in a group setting and twice just one-on-one, I wanted to know him more as a person, and what his motivations were,” Campbell said.
“I wanted to know how he has viewed the last few years and why he thought things hadn’t been quite at the level where he wanted them to be, and I wanted to know what he thought he could have done better.”
Campbell said Stringer, who has two children, was dealing with some complex issues, and it was important the club understood those issues from both Stringer and his parents’ perspective.
“He met with the leadership group, he met with John [Worsfold] one-on-one, he met with a whole range of people and we felt comfortable at that point in time that Jake was a good addition to our football club.”
Stringer was eventually traded to Essendon on the final day of the AFL trade period for picks 25 and 30.