Why Cloke should stay with Collingwood
Boy, oh boy. What a month it’s been for Travis Cloke. And I don’t mean that in a positive way. We as the general public don’t know exactly what’s going on inside of his head, but whatever it is; it’s certainly affecting his football.
Over the last month, Cloke has averaged 10.25 possessions, 3.5 marks and 1.5 goals a game, hardly satisfactory statistics for a “premier” centre half-forward. In fact, if you don’t include Travis’ game against Carlton, (in which he performed quite well in a losing side), his statistics are significantly underwhelming (8.7 possessions, 1.7 marks and 1.3 goals a game).
Looking at those Key Performance Indicators, it’s hard to understand why Fremantle would offer Cloke a five year deal in the vicinity of $1 million a season.
When it came to light that Fremantle offered Cloke such a massive deal, I could understand why they’d want his services: he’s got a great mark, a massive presence on-field and he has an improved goal kicking technique over that of years past. At the time I probably thought he was worth around the $750,000 a season, not the $1 million that was being reported.
To be frank, I don’t believe he’s worthy of such a big deal anymore. There’s no doubt he’s a talented forward, but there have been numerous situations that have occurred over the past couple of months that have made me think of him as a selfish, self involved footballer, unable to cope with pressure or expectation.
I love it when players broaden their vocabulary to things other than “do the team thing”, “give it a crack”, or any other tedious cliché I’m sure has been repeated to the point of ennui.
But the way Cloke sounded on The Footy Show reminded me of a spoilt brat. His priority seems to be getting more out of another club’s bank account than getting more out of himself and his football.
Is that what AFL football has come to? Are players playing the game for the love of money or for the love of running out in their club’s colours, with their best mates, in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans?
Sadly, I think more and more players are choosing money over their team. And Cloke, simply by making the comments he’s made, is in that same group of players.
I’ll compare Travis Cloke with Travis Boak. Both are similar. They are fielding offers from different clubs, they are both being offered a nice sum of money and they both have remarkably similar names.
Yet they’re fielding offers for two very different reasons.
Cloke is doing it for financial security, and Boak is doing it for family reasons.
Travis Boak would leave for $150,000 less a season, to a club which will be declining in the next five years; for the sole reason of being with his family.
Travis Cloke would leave for $250-300,000 more a season, to a club which probably won’t reach the heights of Collingwood in the next five years, and move nearly 3,000kms away from his family and friends.
In adversity, both players have been performing in stark contrast to each other: Travis Boak has averaged 27.3 possessions over the past three weeks on the back of undergoing foot surgery and Cloke has averaged 10.25 possessions, 3.5 marks and 1.5 goals.
After all of what’s happened over the course of the past month, I’m surprised that Fremantle haven’t retracted their offer.
Who knows whether he’ll fit into Fremantle’s game plan anyway? Where will that leave Matthew Pavlich? And If Cloke impacts negatively on Matthew Pavlich’s game, you can be rest assured that the Purple Haze will start a riot on Fremantle Oval, demanding this impostor be on the next flight to Tullamarine.
He’ll probably just end up heading back to Melbourne after his deal finishes, citing homesickness, leaving Fremantle administrators and recruiters scratching their heads wondering, “What on earth were we thinking?”
For god sake’s Trav; sign a comfortable $750,000 a season, four-year deal with the biggest club in the land. Get your head out of your arse and start playing some decent footy again.
With pen put to paper, Cloke can start pulling down the big marks again, we’d all receive a bit of respite from the excessive contract talk. It’d be one less thing Eddie McGuire would be waging war over.
And then we can all look forward to the next big name player fielding offers from rival clubs.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? There’ll be more overhyped, mind-numbing monotony in an otherwise slow news week.
And soon thereafter; in an ironic series of events, I’ll be here to articulate.
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