Jake Stringer impressed in a rare VFL outing but the Western Bulldogs forward is no certainty to be recalled for the final round of the AFL season.
Stringer has struggled this month after returning from a shoulder injury and the star was dropped for the Bulldogs’ clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium.
Coach Luke Beveridge is desperate for the 22-year-old to rediscover his game-breaking form of 2015.
Beveridge was satisfied with Stringer’s effort for Footscray on the weekend.
But the second-year coach added that does not guarantee the reigning All-Australian will face Fremantle on Sunday in the final game of the regular season.
“The important thing is … the 22 picked at AFL level is picked on its merits,” Beveridge said after his side’s 40-point win over Essendon.
“Jake will come back into our AFL team, whether it’s next week or the week after who knows.
“But there’s certain standards that his teammates have set and expectations (that Stringer is not reaching).
“He’ll come up to that pretty quickly and when he does we’ll consider him for the 22.”
Stringer booted a single goal against Werribee but hunted the ball with trademark aggression.
“Jakey really applied himself. He had an impact. There were quite a few very, very good players at VFL level,” Beveridge said.
“It’s always a positive if he does score but it’s not what he is assessed on. It’s not what his teammates appraise him on.
“But there were lots of good things about his game … he had an impact, so we’ll work through selection this week.”
Beveridge added that Stringer had taken his axing very well.
“We just discussed it on the Tuesday – that it was a possibility,” he said.
“He processed it like a mature young man. He really applied himself today and he had some involvement in contest.”
Beveridge is likely to make at least two changes to the side that defeated Essendon.
Easton Wood is set to be an enforced omission because of a ankle injury, while injured defenders Dale Morris and Matt Suckling are both close to returning.