Essendon ace Jake Stringer has opened up on a conversation he had with Bombers assistant Blake Caracella which triggered a desire to improve his fitness.
In a chat in the club's Queensland hub last year, Caracella challenged Stringer to target more midfield minutes which resulted in the 27-year-old putting in a “massive pre-season”.
The hard work has paid off for Stringer with the in-form Bomber signing a three-year contract extension on Wednesday.
“It happened in the hub last year,” Stringer told SEN Breakfast.
“We were having a couple of beers and Blake Caracella challenged me to have a big pre-season. He said, ‘You should be having a run around in the midfield’.
“I took it from there and I was like, ‘Alright, if I want to play a bit of midfield time, I’ve got to get to work’.
“I had a massive pre-season. I employed a fella called Jack Kelly from Ballarat who wrote me out a running program and I did that for 12 weeks.
“I’m getting the rewards now.”
Stringer admits he never considered a midfield role until Caracella’s words of encouragement.
“I never really thought about playing as a mid,” he said.
“I was happy playing forward. It would have been nice to not play as a key forward over the last couple of years at Essendon.
“It wasn’t until Blake said to me if you get yourself in good shape, you’ll get a run through there.
“That’s when I was like, ‘Alright, you need to be a bit more aerobic than powerful as a mid’.
“That’s what I went to work on.”
Stringer’s signature completes a trio of key re-signings at Essendon after Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish also recommitted to the club.
His new deal ties him to the Bombers until at least the end of 2024.