GWS doesn’t even need Travis Cloke
Travis Cloke marks in the 2011 AFL Grand Final (Slattery Images)
But after seeing the Giants in action it’s hard not to ask one question: why?
Leaving aside Eddie McGuire’s comical threats against taking his club’s players, there’s some pretty compelling reasons for Magpie fans to feel reassured right now.
On the weekend, 19 year-old Jeremy Cameron was among the Giant standouts against the Western Bulldogs. He booted five goals to back up the four he kicked against North Melbourne.
Given the Giants rank dead last for inside 50s, it’s fair to say that’s a decent effort.
It’s also fair to say his form isn’t going unnoticed. Bookmakers currently have him as the favourite to win this year’s Rising Star award.
Waiting on the sidelines is another big man in Jonathon Patton. He was the No. 1 pick at last year’s draft but is yet to take the field after heading to Sweden for knee surgery.
From all reports Patton is an imposing figure who will be crashing the packs for years to come. He has strength overhead but is also known for his ability below the knees.
Put simply, he wasn’t picked first by accident.
With these two, the makings of a powerful and potent combination of key forwards is there. They’re certainly tracking as though they’ll be a force in the not-too-distant future.
So why would the Giants entertain someone like Cloke?
Cloke is a star player who would pull crowds, no doubt. He is one of the competition’s best key forwards, no doubt. He’s only 25, this is true.
But why would you bring him in when there are two key forwards showing so much promise?
There’s also Israel Folau to take into account. (And no, that wasn’t a joke.)
While Folau has shown promising signs only in very brief patches to date, the fact is we won’t know truly whether he’s up to it until at least his third season of playing the game. That’s when Jim Stynes came good. It’s when Karmichael Hunt is coming good.
Given his position is also that of a key forward, and given the club have invested even more in him than Cameron and Patton, why bring in a guy that would effectively kill any chance of decent playing time in his desired position?
I know Cloke putting off contract talks until the end of the season is meant to be some golden indicator that he’s gone, but I’m not buying it.
Sure, Cloke would take the heat off guys that are still very much developing. However, it won’t be all that long before those young guys will be ready to stand on their own. Don’t for a second think that the Giants wouldn’t have asked themselves, “What happens then?”
It just wouldn’t make sense.
Collingwood fans, and Eddie for that matter, should relax.
Michael DiFabrizio is completing his journalism degree. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, and appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio. Follow Michael on twitter @mdifabrizio