Cloke poised for AFL return

Apparently everyone in Melbourne wants to know if Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke will make his AFL return this Sunday.

“(Assistant coach) Tarkyn Lockyer was driving into training today and he was pulled over – I don’t know why, I think he was going too slow,” Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said.

“The policeman saw him in his Collingwood outfit and he goes ‘so is Clokey playing this week?’ True story.

“So he’s the only bloke who doesn’t know. In the world.”

After Cloke trained well on Thursday, Buckley insisted the decision was yet to be made ahead of their match committee meeting.

The Magpies star has not played senior football since he was dropped for Anzac Day.

“Although everyone in Melbourne thinks they know, no-one knows because I don’t yet,” Buckley said.

“He trained well today, as did the whole list.”

Collingwood’s plague of injuries have shortened the odds dramatically that Cloke will return for Sunday’s must-win game against Port Adelaide at the MCG.

The Magpies were to name a squad late on Thursday afternoon, with the team to be finalised on Friday.

Darcy Moore, Alex Fasolo and Taylor Adams were all hurt during last weekend’s loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Cloke would probably come in to replace Moore, who has a fractured collarbone.

“We have a big challenge against an opponent that has some specific strengths,” Buckley said.

“We’ve really enjoyed our balance over the last three weeks and we’ll want to go with a similar-balanced side.

“So we won’t be changing roles too much.

“We’re looking for like-for-like replacements for the guys who’ve been injured.”

Buckley would not buy into media talk that Cloke might seek a trade at the end of the season if he struggles to cement a senior berth.

“I’ve made a point over the last probably eight weeks, not to read the papers as much as I might have otherwise,” he said.

“There’s a lot of opinion, a lot of speculation and really that takes place outside of our reality.

“It’s not something I’ve spent five seconds (on).”

The one good piece of injury news for the Magpies is that defender Alan Toovey trained on Thursday and should play against the Power.

Toovey suffered concussion in the Bulldogs loss, with Collingwood still unable to work out what caused his injury.

Buckley said they think it was a delayed concussion.

“Toovs is pretty good – he’ll get through and he’ll be right.

“So we had three injuries and then it’s up to whether we think there are any form decisions that we need to make.

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