AFL

Collingwood star Travis Cloke aiming to open contract talks

Collingwood veteran Travis Cloke is expected to open contract renegotiations mid-season, with the power forward to chase a three-year extension.

Cloke's five-year deal does not expire until the end of 2017, but, as is becoming the custom among the league's best players, extension talks are set to begin more than a year out.

Travis Cloke's five-year deal does not expire until the end of 2017.
Travis Cloke's five-year deal does not expire until the end of 2017. Photo: Getty Images

However, it is understood discussions this time will  involve only Cloke and his manager-father David – the former Collingwood and Richmond great.

Cloke will be 30 when his contract expires, but, having looked after his body well and still being mentally fresh, he is likely to seek a three-year deal.

The Magpies could be inclined to offer a one- or two-year deal, possibly with a trigger clause for an added year, as power forwards typically do not age well.

Cloke is no longer involved with manager Ralph Carr, who helped David Cloke not only in his son's club contract negotiations last time but also with his off-field deals. Cloke has recently turned to prominent player manager Paul Connors to manage his commercial deals.

Advertisement

Negotiations over Cloke's last contract, when he was chased by several clubs, including a significant offer from Fremantle, were played out heavily in the media – something he is keen to avoid this time.

While Cloke had a relatively quiet 2015 and for the first time in five years did not claim the club's goalkicking award, he remains arguably the best power forward in the league.

He endured hamstring and calf injuries last season and booted only three goals in his last six matches, having had 31 at the halfway point.

The AFL's official statistician Champion Data ranked Cloke "elite" in contested marks last season and he boasted the best winning percentage of any key forward in one-on-one contests.

Having had the jitters in front of goal early in the season, with the Magpies employing a sports psychologist to help him concentrate better when lining up, he would finish the season kicking at a career-high 55per cent – ranked 25th of the top 50 goalkickers.

His importance when the Pies won could not be underestimated – his goals and assists tripled in those games compared with defeats.

The expected development of Darcy Moore could help ease the focus on Cloke, allowing him to flourish more inside 50. 

Cloke has been demoted from the leadership group for the coming season, and will use the time he once gave to leadership meetings to improve his own game. The Magpies maintain his omission was not because of the nude photos of him and Dane Swan appearing in a magazine last month. No action was taken against Cloke or Swan.

Skipper Scott Pendlebury, Nathan Brown, Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and Brent Macaffer are part of the leadership group.

"We voted on this a long time before [the nude photos] happened, so it had nothing to do with that at all. What the players want, the players got, I suppose," Pendlebury said on Thursday. "It's a player-voted thing, and the four guys and myself were the clear-cut group that the players wanted to be led by this year.

"Clokey wasn't a part of that and he's acknowledged himself that he's got a way to go with his leadership."