Luke Beveridge says decision to trade Jake Stringer was mutual between club and player
Mark Robinson, Herald Sun
22 minutes ago
WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says he acted in the greater interests of the club in deciding to move on forward Jake Stringer.
In his first comments on the stunning split, Beveridge told the Herald Sun his premiership forward ultimately agreed he would be better suited elsewhere.
The only scenario which would see Stringer, 23, remain at the Bulldogs would be if a trade deal didn’t satisfy the club.
“Jake’s management and the club got together and both agreed we’d explore alternatives to him playing at the club and explore what’s right for his long-term future and the club’s,’’ Beveridge told the Herald Sun.
“It’s as simple as that … I’m not going into details.”
Stringer’s football issues centre around a lack of professionalism in preparation, at training and the rehabilitation of injuries.
They are compounded by a litany of off-field issues, ranging from his personal situation with his former partner, the stresses of being a young father, to behavioural concerns.
Beveridge conceded the decision to trade his one-time All-Australian forward was a tough one.
“It is because first and foremost I operate from a platform of care and duty to our players and I’ve got to look after the whole group,” the coach said.
“But when it comes to the point where both parties are saying maybe it’s best to explore somewhere else, it means then it’s right for that individual, but it’s also right for the group he’s going to leave behind.”
A worthy trade would have to be organised, Beveridge said.
“Ultimately, he’s still a contracted player,” he said.
“We’re not going to just say ‘Here you go, you can have Jake Stringer’. 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.
“We’ll try to work it out together.
“You asked if it’s irretrievable. It’s not. Ultimately, (if) Jake is still playing at the football club, then we’ve just got to work through that next year, of maturity and what it looks like for him, and see how we go.’’
Stringer has kicked 160 goals in 89 games after being taken at pick No.5 in the 2012 national draft.
Essendon and Geelong are reportedly Stringer’s preferred destinations, although it’s understood several clubs have made inquiries to Stringer’s manager Paul Connors.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said last week the Saints were interested in talking to Stringer.
Earning about $500,000 a season and with a year to run on his contract, the trade value for Stringer is anywhere between pick No.10 and pick No.25, depending on whether you highlight his qualities or deficiencies.
Connors refused to comment.
Beveridge said Stringer had unique challenges as a player and person and that the club had supported him through difficult times.
“Each player is presented with a different set of challenges,” he said.
“He’s obviously become a high-profile player very early in the piece and when you think of his life, having two young daughters, obviously going through settlement proceedings because he’s not married, and being a boy from the bush, and the city life … he’s got a lot on his plate, a lot of challenges.
“And maybe it takes a little while to be able to get on top of those things. But he’s got unique challenges a lot of players haven’t had in the game.’’
Jake Stringer, Luke Dahlhaus and Tom Liberatore after the Bulldogs premiership.
Beveridge denied reports Stringer stormed out of his end-of-season exit interview.
“When I heard about it, I chuckled,” Beveridge said.
“He didn’t at all. We chatted more about family and future, he has two little girls and about what’s next for him, and we walked out as amicable as we ever have been.
“We’ve always had a good relationship, we still have, there’s no heat.
“The thing about exit meetings is there’s no surprises. Jake wasn’t surprised by anything we said or anything he mentioned to us in so far as what he’s going to work on and what are his strengths, so that was all fine.
“That was purely a fabrication.”