Magpies join race to sign Michael Hurley

AFL club Collingwood has officially joined the race to sign banned Essendon defender Michael Hurley.

Hurley is one of five Bombers yet to announce their plans for 2017, having been forced to skip this season as part of doping sanctions.

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge revealed earlier this month that his club would try to lure Hurley to Whitten Oval, should the 26-year-old decide he wants to leave Essendon.

Buckley followed suit on Monday night.

“I don’t know anybody that wouldn’t be (interested in signing Hurley),” Buckley told Fox Footy.

“We’ve spoken to his manager and management.

“Any time an A-grade talent wants to look elsewhere than his footy club, we’ll be in the mix.”

Hurley is contracted to Essendon for 2017, meaning the Magpies or Bulldogs would need to broker a trade with the Bombers to recruit him.

Buckley admitted it would be hard work, given the draft picks his club will have at its disposal.

“But there’s always a way,” he said.

Bombers coach John Worsfold has expressed confidence throughout the year that Hurley will recommit, saying last week he hadn’t even contemplated a potential trade.

“Because I’m confident I won’t even have to worry about that,” Worsfold said.

“Michael, I’m very confident, will be playing for Essendon.”

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell expressed similar views last week but said the AFL club would seek to arrange a suitable trade if Hurley didn’t want to be there.

Meanwhile, Buckley reiterated that he expects Travis Cloke, who has been dropped three times this year, will be at Collingwood next year.

“He’s contracted next year and we’d expect him to honour that,” he said.

“I think he’ll play better footy than he has this year.

“If you look at our depth of our talls, we need to have a real look at that. We need Trav to be playing his best footy.”

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