Essendon’s Jake Stringer heads into Sunday’s elimination final against the Western Bulldogs as the only premiership player on the Bombers’ list, but the man they call ‘The Package’ won’t be looking to deliver too much advice to his younger teammates on game day.
Stringer spearheaded the Bulldogs drought-breaking premiership back in 2016 against the Sydney Swans, averaging just under two goals a game in a history-creating finals run which saw the Dogs stun the competition from seventh position.
Despite having significant post-season experience on his younger counterparts, Stringer believes it is up to the Baby Bombers to define their own destiny heading into the 2021 AFL Finals Series.
“Let them write their own chapter,” Stringer said.
“Let them do their own storytelling, they can figure it out themselves and I look forward to being on that journey with them.”
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There’s a lot of history the Bombers will need to overcome if they are to deliver a 17th premiership to Tullamarine in 2021.
The Bombers have to overcome two hoodoos should they hope to take home the Premiership, claim their first finals win since 2004 when they face the Western Bulldogs this weekend, and be the first side in AFL history to win the flag from eighth spot.
Stringer believes history counts for little as the 2021 finals series approaches.
“There’s been no story written so far for the rest of the finals, so hopefully we can write one which would be nice.”
Sunday presents as the perfect opportunity to further defy expectations placed on the Bombers in season 2021.
Many pundits predicted the Dons would miss the finals for a second-straight year after key player departures, including Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia and Adam Saad.
An injection of youth, coupled with shrewd recruiting and internal development saw the Dons put themselves back into finals contention under first-time coach Ben Rutten.
Stringer said it wasn’t surprising the Bombers are back in the finals given there’s been no limitations put on the club since the start of the 2021 pre-season.
“I don’t think it is [a surprise],” he said.
“We were very confident when we got together at the start of pre-season that we were going to be on a journey. There’s been lots of ups and downs and all we needed was a ticket to the party.
“We’ve got that, and we’ll see how far we go.”