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Travis Cloke in line for AFL comeback after Jake Stringer injury

Bulldogs plays react after Travis Cloke (fourth from left) kicked a goal during the Round 1 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and Western Bulldogs at the MCG in Melbourne, Friday, March 24, 2017. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
16th July, 2017
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Travis Cloke could be set for an AFL return as the Western Bulldogs look to replace injured forward Jake Stringer.

The 23-year-old Stringer could face several weeks on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring during Sunday’s 20-point win over Carlton at the MCG.

Stringer left the ground minutes into the second quarter and sat out the rest of the game with his left leg iced as the Bulldogs went on to claim a 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62) win.

The extent of the injury won’t be known until Stringer undergoes scans but it seems unlikely he will recover in time to face Gold Coast in Cairns on Saturday.

His absence could pave the way for Cloke to play his first game of senior football in more than a month.

The former Collingwood spearhead played his second straight game in the VFL on Saturday night after taking time off last month to deal with mental health issues.

“Travis played pretty well,” coach Luke Beveridge said.

“He’s two games back now and he seemed to enjoy last night.

“He’ll be another player that we’ll consider (after) losing Jake … obviously you’d think he’d be out for a number of weeks”

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Premiership forward Tory Dickson is also in the mix after the Dogs struggled for efficiency inside-50 against Carlton.

“I thought he played really well last night with some of his spark and spunk back,” Beveridge said.

“He had an encouraging performance at VFL level so he’ll definitely come into consideration for this week.”

Sunday’s scrappy win over Carlton was far from convincing but it was a much-improved performance after their dismal 59-point loss to Adelaide last week.

Caleb Daniel and Marcus Bontempelli continued their excellent form while Jason Johannisen had his best game in weeks after signing a contract extension during the week.

The result lifted the Bulldogs back within a game of the top eight after losing four of their past five games.

“We were a lot better today,” Beveridge said.

“At times, we’ve handballed into pressure and invited it. Today we used it a little bit better and it created more viable scoring opportunities.”

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