Pay to play: Bomber Jake Stringer put in one of his best showings against Hawthorn last Sunday. Photo: DAVE HUNT/ AAP IMAGE

Has contract status ignited Stringer?

June 24, 2021 BY

JAKE Stringer produced one of the best performances of his one-hundred and forty-seven-game career on Sunday.

Stringer helped guide Essendon over the line against Hawthorn with an equal career-high 29 disposals plus four goals, 10 inside 50s and seven tackles in a superb display in Launceston.

The dynamic 27-year-old, who is out of contract this year, has shown glimpses of his absolute best in season 2021, but his form does fluctuate at times, prompting a discussion on SEN Breakfast.

Tim Watson posed the following question relating to Stringer’s contract status.

“He’s a match-winning player capable of taking his football to a level that very few in this competition can,” he said.

“Do you reckon there’s anything behind the fact that he’s playing for a contract?”

Kane Cornes is firm in his belief that Stringer is putting his best forward for a new deal with the Bombers having had his 2020 campaign restricted to 10 games by injuries.

“Absolutely there is,” he replied. “For a lot of footballers, nothing motivates them more than being out of contract.

“There’s great examples even this year. [Cam] Guthrie at Geelong is having an exceptional year, Shai Bolton is having an unbelievable year, a lot of players produce career best years when they’re out of contract.

“That’s why I really dislike the long-term deals. I think you have to be the elite of the elite who are so self-driven to get those deals.

“Jake Stringer was self-admittedly eight kilos overweight last year. Do you think he would rock up looking like that if he was playing for a contract? I doubt it.

“Whilst it was one of the great individual performances, I think why haven’t you done this more often? And have you let your team and yourself down by not preparing yourself like you are playing for a contract.

“I thought it was brilliant, I love watching him play, he’s great for the game, but he should have done this more regularly and perhaps he hasn’t because he just hasn’t been prepared.”

Asked if he would pay big money to tie Stringer down, Garry Lyon would tread down the path of bonuses and incentives in order to get the best out of the powerful midfielder/forward.

“I would heavily incentivise him and dangle the carrot,” Lyon said.

“Everyone in football with half a brain knows that Jake Stringer, on yesterday’s form, is worth every dollar of 750 [thousand].

“Similarly, everyone in football knows he doesn’t do it that often, or he doesn’t do it often enough in recent times.”

Stringer, who joined the Dons from the Western Bulldogs at the end of 2017, has kicked 20 goals in nine matches this season and is averaging close to 14 disposals and just under three clearances per game.

– BY ANDREW SLEVISON/ SEN