Jake Stringer says he’s loving life at the Western Bulldogs, even if it does feel a bit strange to think of himself as an AFL footballer.
The former Bendigo Pioneer and Eaglehawk star was selected by the Dogs with their first pick in November’s national draft – pick five overall.
The Bulldogs showed faith in Stringer’s rehabilitation since breaking his leg last year and the 18-year-old is throwing himself into pre-season training at Whitten Oval.
“It’s been quite an interesting experience. I haven’t done much over the last sort of 24 months, so it’s been probably the biggest four-week block that I’ve put in,” Stringer told the Bulldogs’ website.
“I’m loving the time down at the kennel and everyone’s looking after me.”
At 191cm and 91kg, Stringer is bigger than many new draftees, but said he feels undersized training with the Dogs’ big men.
“It’s been a bit interesting, I’m getting stuck with the big 200cm boys, so I’m like a little midget running around there,” he said. “But nah, I’m loving it, all the boxing and all that type of stuff’s up my alleyway so I’m just enjoying it all.
“I worked with my old man for two-and-a-half years in the family business… waking up every day for a job is something I’m used to, but it’s footy and I’m loving it.”
Stringer, who has been allocated the number nine jumper previously worn by the retired Lindsay Gilbee, has adjusted to life at the kennel but said it will take until he’s played some matches until he feels like an AFL player.
“It hasn’t really sunk in, I don’t think, yet. I suppose it will take until the games start rolling through, doing autographs and all that type of stuff. It’s a little bit weird, but it’s all part of it,” he said.
“You’re a lot more relaxed now and you’re not rushing everything, you’re starting to get into the routine of it all now, which is good.”
Meanwhile, Stringer’s former Pioneers team-mate Oliver Wines has been handed the famous number 16 jumper at Port Adelaide previously worn by Power captain Warren Tredrea.