TRAVIS Cloke and Collingwood have reopened contract discussions, with the Magpies showing a willingness to budge on clauses restricting his bid for a healthy payday in his fifth season.
David Cloke, Travis' manager and father, said discussions with the Magpies yesterday morning had been productive. A final call could be made within days.
Footy Fix: grand final preview
Eagles thrash competitive Dons
Hopes for Ben Cousins' recovery
West Coast Bombers preview
FootyFix: Can the Doggies upset the Swans again?
Ben Cousins hospitalised
Giants tower over Blues
Saints edge Cats in thriller
Footy Fix: grand final preview
Rohan Connolly previews the AFL grand final blockbuster between Sydney and Hawthorn.
Rival clubs had been told during the Brownlow Medal count on Monday that the Magpies were now prepared to be more accommodating to Cloke as he had reinforced during the finals just how valuable he was in a forward line that lacked blue-chip quality. ''We are getting closer,'' David Cloke told The Age.
''That's what we are talking about - the fifth year. They [Magpies] are budging in some ways. They are the things we are discussing.''
Cloke, 25, is a restricted free agent, meaning Collingwood has the opportunity to match the best offer from a rival club.
Cloke is after a five-year deal worth more than $3.7 million. The Magpies had been willing to offer four years but were concerned the forward would struggle to be productive in a fifth season. Power forwards historically begin to struggle in their late 20s.
The Magpies had set trigger clauses through Cloke's first four years for him to remain on major money in his fifth season, something that has irked the Cloke camp.
''It's over the combination of the first four years. To get the figure in the fifth year, there are a number of configurations that will have to happen in the first four years,'' Cloke snr said.
''We are just trying to work through it, make sure both parties are happy with everything. That's what it is all about.''
Cloke has repeatedly questioned why contractual clauses, which he believes are overly tough, are required for a player who is still only in his mid-20s.
Clauses can include the number of matches played and best-and-fairest placings.
Cloke was the only Magpie to play all 25 matches this season, booting a team-high 59 goals, well ahead of Dayne Beams (28) and Alex Fasolo (28).
His durability cannot be questioned because he played in 25 matches in 2011 and 24 in 2010.
Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh did not wish to comment last night.
Carlton has also expressed strong interest in Cloke and has been linked to a five-year deal worth $800,000 a season.
Blues coach Mick Malthouse said he would ''absolutely'' target the man he helped morph into the one of the league's premier forwards when he was at Collingwood.
But Blues officials last night believed Cloke would remain a Magpie.
Fremantle had also been linked to Cloke, but is understood to now believe its hopes are dashed.
Cloke said several months ago he was not interested in heading west because of the travel involved.
David Cloke would not discuss rival offers. ''I am not going to comment either way. We are going through the process now,'' he said.
Once the Cloke deal is finalised, the Magpies will be able concentrate on securing new deals for Andrew Krakouer, Harry O'Brien, Tyson Goldsack and Sharrod Wellingham.