Jake Stringer could stay at Western Bulldog after Essendon trade pick 11 for Devon Smith
MARK ROBINSON AND SAM LANDSBERGER, Herald Sun
35 minutes ago
JAKE Stringer could remain a Western Bulldogs player after his manager conceded a trade to Essendon was “tricky’’.
On Thursday, the Bombers used pick No.11 to help secure Devon Smith from Greater Western Sydney, a pick the Bulldogs demanded off Essendon for Stringer.
The Bombers hope their two second-round selections - No.24 and No.29 - will swing the trade, as well as secure Gold Coast’s Adam Saad, although the Bulldogs say those picks won’t make it happen.
The Bombers have baulked at using next year’s first-round selection, although they know that offer would get the deal done.
Stringer’s manager Paul Connors today told the Herald Sun: “We’re committed to Essendon and that’s what we’re going to do.
“But it’s tricky.
“But we’re confident it will be all done.”
Asked what happens if it can’t be agreed to, Connors said: “That’s something we’ll cross if it happens. But hopefully it doesn’t.’’
The odds of Stringer being at the Western Bulldogs shortened after the Smith deal was confirmed.
The Bulldogs and the Bombers met on Monday and talks since have been deadlocked.
In what is shaping as a who-blinks-first scenario, the Bombers hope the Dogs will yield on the final day of the trade period on Thursday.
The Dogs have maintained if a deal does not satisfy them, they will keep 23-year-old Stringer.
On Monday they were adamant that if pick No.11 was sent to Gold Coast for Saad or the Giants for Smith, Stringer was likely to remain a Bulldog.
Stringer, who has been ill this past week, is flying to United States at the weekend for a holiday with his future unclear.
Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said from the outset they wouldn’t deal Stringer cheaply.
“We’re not going to just say ‘Here you go, you can have Jake Stringer’,” he told the Herald Sun.
“We’ve said to him, you’re going to play here mate if no one is going to treat you with the respect you should have as far as what you have achieved, because we need to do what’s right for the club as much as you as well.
“You asked if it’s irretrievable. It’s not.”
List manager Jason McCartney reiterated: “If we cannot achieve a satisfactory agreement with another club he will remain with the Western Bulldogs.
“We are very clear on that. Jake is contracted for next season and we would look forward to him playing with us in 2018 if a deal doesn’t work out over the next few weeks.”
The Bombers are all-in for the 2015 All-Australian and 2016 premiership star and they waiting for the Bulldogs to buckle ahead of next week’s 2pm trade deadline.
They have Stringer’s word that he will boost his fitness over summer in preparation to be reprogrammed as a midfield-forward.
They have met with him countless times and at every level, with list manager Adrian Dodoro, coach John Worsfold and chief executive Xavier Campbell all sitting down with the erratic gamebreaker.
But Essendon - eager to shed its tag as hard to deal with in trade week - knows the talks are on a knife’s edge.