Buckley expects Cloke to stay with Magpies
Nathan Buckley and Travis Cloke after the Magpies' win over Essendon earlier this season. Photo: Paul Rovere
Collingwood AFL coach Nathan Buckley expects All-Australian forward Travis Cloke to stay with the Magpies despite bigger financial offers from other clubs.
Cloke reportedly could earn a million dollars a year if he crossed to Fremantle or GWS next season, but Buckley says the premiership hero is fully aware that there's more to consider than just cash.
"He loves the place here," Buckley told reporters on Thursday.
"He's got a great environment. He's got great mates.
"He enjoys being here as much as we enjoy him being here and his contribution."
As part of the AFL's free agency policy which begins this year, Cloke would be free to leave unless Collingwood matched a rival offer.
"I do get a little affronted seeing him in opposition guernseys in the paper," Buckley said of this week's media speculation over 25-year-old Cloke's playing future.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to that - neither will he.
"He's one of the best players in the competition. He's fighting for that mantle (as Collingwood's best player) with 'Swanny' (2011 Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan), with Scott Pendlebury (2011 club champion), with Dale Thomas.
"We're not about putting a hierarchy in place and this team will not be built on a hierarchy in the future.
"Our players, if they want to stay in this group, as successful groups have had to do in the past, will do so at a financial cost to the individual in order to stay together.
"We can't possibly as a club meet some of the offers that will cross the table of all of our individuals at various times."
Swan, Pendlebury and Thomas have all signed contract extensions with the Magpies.