Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley remains confident key forward Travis Cloke will stay at the AFL club.
The Magpies' negotiations with Cloke were put off until the end of the season, increasing speculation he might go to another club.
Cloke has burst back to top form in the last fortnight, monstering Essendon in round 23 with five goals and then starring in Friday night's qualifying final loss to Hawthorn with a six-goal haul.
"We've managed this situation as well as we possibly could throughout the year and we love Clokey, Clokey loves being at the club," Buckley said on Channel Seven's Game Day.
"It's just a matter of time."
Buckley said he had "some hard conversations" with Cloke this season, but stressed they were no different to his relationship with any other Collingwood player.
Cloke has struggled for form at times this year.
"Both the club and Travis would have preferred to have this done and dusted, but that's what negotiations are about," Buckley added.
"It got out of hand and there were things going on we couldn't control.
"So we decided to control it and whether we've achieved anything out of it, we'll find out, won't we."
Buckley was not prepared to say whether the contract issue had affected Cloke's form, but was rapt he had returned to form for the finals.
"It's just clicked for him, which is excellent," Buckley said.
"It's pretty clear that the lightbulb has gone (on), so to speak.
"He's got to the end of the year and he has the right focus, he's trying to meet the ball at the highest point.
"The Essendon game was good for him and clearly Friday night was a continuation of that."