ESSENDON coach John Worsfold says the Bombers will “seriously consider” poaching Jake Stringer if the Western Bulldogs premiership star is available.
Stringer, 23, is contracted at Whitten Oval until the end of 2018 but reports emerged late last week he could be on the move.
Worsfold said the Bombers would begin to “ramp up” list management discussions this week.
“We’ll get more into looking at the names that are potentially available,” Worsfold told SEN.
“There’s not a big list out there, we’ll sift through those and say one do they fit into what we’re trying to build (and) are they possibly available for us.
“If Stringer is on that list, obviously, an All-Australian player we’ll have to seriously consider what he might offer us if he’s available.”
He was dropped on the eve of the finals last year but returned for the drought-breaking premiership run.
Respected AFL journalist Mike Sheahan urged the Bulldogs to keep the dynamic forward.
“I’d keep Jake Stringer, they’re too hard to find,” Sheahan told SEN.
“Whatever is ailing him, I’d work on that.”
Bulldogs teammate Mitch Wallis last week said Stringer had some tough decisions to make in coming weeks.
“It’s still up in the air and he still has to really commit to the club,” Wallis said.
“If he decides to stay, he’ll stay for a long time. And if he doesn’t, good luck to him.”
TRADE TALK: SHOULD THE BULLDOGS TRADE STRINGER?
ESSENDON great Tim Watson says Western Bulldogs forward Jake Stringer is no “flash in the pan” and his “best is still to come” amid reports the premiership star will be put on the trade table.
Channel 9 last night reported the Bulldogs and Stringer are not happy with each other and are “prepared to explore and test the market on him” this trade period.
The network said other clubs were aware of the situation and were preparing to draft offers for the 2016 premiership player, who managed just 24 goals this year after totals of 42 and 56 the previous two seasons.
However, Watson said he was shocked the Bulldogs would consider moving on one of their X-Factor players, who is still just 23 years old and contracted for next year.
“I’ve got to say that I’m surprised,” Watson said on SEN radio.
“This bloke is an All-Australian, a prodigious natural talent, at his best — and it’s true we haven’t seen enough of it recently — a matchwinner, game changer and they don’t grow on trees.
“I’m a huge fan of Luke Beveridge. The bloke can coach. But maybe Stringer has exhausted his patience. Maybe he isn’t buying into his team-first philosophy, I don’t know.
“I don’t think Stringer has reached his full potential yet. I don’t think he’s a flash in the pan, I don’t think he’s a one-hit wonder. His consistent best is still to come. There are better days ahead for him.”
Stringer’s teammate Mitch Wallis says he has some tough decisions to make over coming weeks and has not denied there has been some disconnect between the premiership forward and the club.
Debate is raging about whether the Bulldogs should part ways with the 23-year-old this trade period after a season in which he failed to reach his best.
“It’s still up in the air and he still has to really commit to the club,” Wallis said on SEN radio.
“It needs to be a full commitment from him and not one where he’s unsure.
“I want him to stay, that’s the priority. But he has to be fully committed to playing for the Dogs and I think he is.
“If he decides to stay, he’ll stay for a long time. And if he doesn’t, good luck to him.
“He’s had a couple of injuries late in the year which obviously made it hard for him because he hadn’t had a great year form-wise. He’s still contracted, I know that doesn’t mean too much these days, but I’m sure over the next few weeks he’ll have a fair bit of thinking time of what his future looks like and what he wants to do.”
But former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon said after a poor season, testing the market might not be a bad move for the Bulldogs.
“You’re exploring your options because you look at it and go, ‘If there is someone out in the marketplace that’s got a higher opinion of Jake or is prepared to pay a price that we think we can’t knock back’ then I think you certainly explore those avenues,” Lyon said.