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Bulldogs sing praises of maligned Magpie Cloke

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Key Western Bulldogs players have heaped praise on Travis Cloke as the Collingwood forward looks for a new AFL club following yesterday’s trade request.

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Tory Dickson, Matt Suckling and Jason Johannisen have all spoken highly of the veteran forward who has been linked with a move to the Dogs.

“Travis has obviously been a special player for a long time,” Suckling said.

“I’m sure the list managers will make that decision but he’s been a good player. I’m sure Trav could fit into most clubs and have an impact next year.”

Dickson, who has kicked 30 goals in 18 games this season, is also a fan of the 29-year-old’s work.

“He’s a wonderful player, he’s obviously had some indifferent form this year and has been sent back to the twos to work on a few things,” Dickson said.

“(But) he’s a great player … that comes down to a match committee/list management (decision).”

Speculation Cloke was on the move had been rife for weeks after the out-of-favour forward managed just 13 games this season and was dropped to the VFL three times by coach Nathan Buckley.

The 29-year-old has a year left on his contract, but he told the club on Tuesday morning he wanted to be traded after 246 senior appearances for the Pies – who indicated they were open to facilitating a move.

“While Travis remains contracted to play for Collingwood in 2017, all at Collingwood respect Travis’ right to explore his options and acknowledge his 12 years of exceptional senior service,” the club said in a statement.

Richmond, where his father David was a captain and premiership player, is another potential landing spot for the power forward.

Cloke’s decision continues the far-reaching list remodel Buckley began when he took over from Mick Malthouse before the 2012 season.

Dane Swan announced his retirement last week, with fellow members of the 2010 premiership team Dale Thomas, Heath Shaw, Heritier Lumumba, Dayne Beams, Chris Dawes, Brent Macaffer and Sharrod Wellingham joining him in retirement or switching to other clubs.

The Dogs will contest their second finals series in succession under coach Luke Beveridge but go into their campaign as the lowest-ranked scoring team in the top eight.

Jake Stringer, the club’s leading goal kicker with 37, has spent the past two weeks in the VFL but looms as a key inclusion when the Bulldogs take on West Coast in next week’s elimination final in Perth.

“I think he’s gone back (to the VFL) with the right mindset – he’s tackled hard and his defensive pressure has been great,” Dickson said.

“It’s a match committee thing but it would be great to have him back in because he’s a special player and he can win games of football.”

-AAP

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