In writing this entry I’ll be the first to admit that not having him in my Bench team makes it easy to take the ump’s side but because he is a pie, it makes it so much more enjoyable.
In July 2013 a similar article was written in the Australian Newspaper when head coach Nathan Buckley approached the AFL Commission for an answer to the lack of frees paid to Cloke, whilst not privy to the response, the resultant outcome for the rest of the year was 12 frees for and 10 against.
Like many I get frustrated watching Travis Cloke play primarily because the only way he seems to kick goals is as a result of a one on one tussle and if he doesn’t take that mark, out come the Kleenex.
Coaches today have worked out how to play Cloke. Ross Lyon in round 1 had Michael Johnson dropping back to help McPharlin, in round 2 against Sydney, Richards and Grundy doubled up and on Saturday night against Geelong the whole team understood their role in helping Lonergan.
I remember watching full forwards of the past, either climbing packs or taking marks on the lead at full pace. Ablett, Lockett and even Fevola all had the full complement in their artillery.
When was the last time Cloke took a screamer or even managed to take a mark on the lead.. certainly not this year as his only 2 goals have been a result of a mark on the boundary line and you guessed it, a free kick.
If you’re in front of your opponent on a lead there has never in the history of the AFL been a free kick against the lead for contact made to his direct opponent, perhaps this something Cloke and his brains trust should consider.
In round 9 I’ll be up against a coach with Cloke as one of his full forwards, that game is against Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. Needless to say I’ll be holding my breath every time the ball is launched into the Collingwood forward line where a possible one on one matchup it taking place, here’s hoping the umpires maintain this current stance.
Don’t get me wrong he is a power full forward, and at over 105kgs he’s one big unit, but next time you watch a pies game (if you must), take note of which player initiates contact and how many times that contact could be deemed illegal, most of the time it’s in fact Cloke.