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Cloke still a contract talking point
By Rob Forsaith
16:24 AEST Thu Jul 26 2012

Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy was always going to make light work of Collingwood's attempt to keep Travis Cloke's contract negotiations out of the spotlight.

Speculation about Cloke's future at the Magpies has been a constant this season, while the soon-to-be-free-agent chases a rich contract.

Pundits have linked the issue to his current patchy form and questioned what impact it might be having on the team.

Collingwood this week delayed discussions with Cloke until the end of the season, looking to remove the potential for distraction.

Showman Sheedy, whose charges host the Magpies on Saturday, was never going to let that fly.

"I reckon there's a few clubs out there and we'll have to definitely have a look at him," Sheedy said after the Giants' training session on Thursday.

"That style of player put the Swans on the map. Look at (Tony) Lockett and Barry Hall.

"...It looks like a long and drawn out contractual problem."

The Giants pulled out of the race for Cloke's signature in May, with Fremantle and Melbourne said to be the leading contenders alongside Collingwood.

But the four-time premiership coach said the delay in discussions had restored GWS's genuine interest in the 2010 premiership star.

While Collingwood should thump the Giants on the weekend, Sheedy couldn't hide his glee about Cloke's trip to Sydney.

"There'll be a tour (of the Giants' living quarters at Breakfast Point). Don't worry about that," he quipped.

"It's not often a team has a player off contract and they fly him up for us to come and see. That's pretty generous from Collingwood.

"We'll make sure the bus gets sidetracked. We might get the bus driver to accidentally turn down the wrong street - it's only seven minutes away from here."

Earlier on Thursday, legendary centre half-forward Wayne Carey provided a scathing critique of Cloke's efforts this year.

"Collingwood must be so frustrated. I know they're going with the line that this (delaying negotiations) is best for Travis and the footy club, that's rubbish," Carey said on radio station Triple M.

"They're saying Travis, pull your head in and we'll do it at the end of the year.

"I have nothing against Travis as a bloke but right now he's got to be the seventh best forward (in the league).

"As every week goes on I think his value goes down."

Sheedy had no such concerns.

"I never worry about form. Absolutely (he could have the impact of a Hall or Lockett)," he said.

"He's a very strong, powerful contested key forward, and they're the sort of people that are draw cards."

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick also weighed in saying his club would like to recruit the 25-year-old but was wary of the brave new world of free agency.

"The free agency market is one that can spiral out of control," Hardwick said.

"You can get one big fish, but the fact is there's two or three who can float out the other way."


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