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Brown sympathises with Cloke's AFL dramas
Greg Buckle and Laine Clark
18:07 AEST Wed Jul 25 2012

Brisbane AFL skipper Jonathan Brown says Travis Cloke's contract negotiations are big news simply because he plays for Collingwood.

Brown says the Magpies' out-of-form power forward needs to find a way to keep his off-field issues separate to his on-field performances.

"It's probably a bigger issue because he is playing for Collingwood," Brown told reporters on Wednesday.

"They are the biggest club in the land and they draw a lot of media attention.

"I went through it in 2008 (linked to other clubs including Collingwood) but I was up here so I wasn't going through it day to day being asked about it.

"It comes down to each player on an individual basis how they can handle that contract side of things going on behind the scenes.

"You have to be able to separate it from the football.

"I don't think it affects his teammates. As teammates, we don't think about other blokes' contract situations.

"Unfortunately he has been in a form rut -- whether the contract speculation has affected him or not who knows."

The Magpies said on Tuesday they had put all contract negotiations with Cloke on hold until the end of the season.

While Fremantle have been linked with 2011 All-Australian Cloke, his father David was centre half-forward in Richmond's 1980 premiership side.

Tigers' great Kevin Bartlett claimed Richmond would be a top-four side in 2013 with Cloke.

"I personally think if he leaves Collingwood, the club he wants to go to is Richmond," Bartlett said.

Bartlett interviewed Richmond's general manager of football Craig Cameron on SEN Radio and demanded to know why the Tigers weren't doing more in the hunt for Cloke's signature.

"We'll keep tracking it via his manager Ralph Carr," Cameron said.

"With talks being on hold, it's important for us to maybe have a chat to Ralph and see where the situation's at.

"If some of the figures that are being reported are true, then some of those would be a challenge (to fit under Richmond's salary cap).

"We just have to work out exactly what Travis wanted before we took it any further.

"David played with us. There's a very strong historical connection.

"We've asked some questions in terms of if we went down the path, what the likelihood would be.

"We have raised a lot of money. Part of it is to make sure we can be a player in the free-agency market."

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is growing tired of the topic.

"It has been ongoing and every free agency player's been linked to us, and continually are, so I'm really here to talk about the game," Lyon said in Perth.

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