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Bulldogs confirm plans to bundle off 'The Package'

Football

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has confirmed mercurial forward Jake Stringer is on the AFL trade table.

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Beveridge said on yesterday that it is a mutual decision by the Bulldogs and the gifted but troubled 23-year-old, nicknamed ‘The Package’ because of his freakish abilities.

But the coach added that Stringer would only leave if the right deal could be struck, adding there is still a chance that the forward might stay.

It is the first confirmation from the Bulldogs that Stringer is up for trade, after a week of speculation.

The stunning admission follows the dismal failure of their premiership defence.

They are the first reigning premiers to not make the finals since Hawthorn in 2009.

Stringer was a 2015 All-Australian and played in last year’s historic premiership team.

He has kicked 160 goals in 89 games since his 2013 debut at the Bulldogs.

Essendon, Geelong and St Kilda all have expressed initial interest in trading for Stringer.

Beveridge would not go into details about why the Bulldogs will trade Stringer, but there has been plenty of talk about the player’s attitude towards football and off-field issues, including a separation from his former partner, with whom he has two daughters.

“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,” Beveridge 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.”

The coach also noted that Stringer remains under contract.

“We’re not going to just say ‘here you go, you can have Jake Stringer’,” Beveridge warned.

“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.”

-AAP

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