After three months of criticism and gruelling hard work, Travis Cloke’s AFL re-awakening couldn’t have tasted sweeter.
The Collingwood spearhead stuck it to his critics with four goals, 12 marks and 20 possessions in Saturday’s stunning 32-point away win over Greater Western Sydney.
Cloke said it was “nice to get rewarded” for the excellent display following a turbulent period in which he’d been dropped for an extended time, recalled and then dropped again before slowly ingratiating himself back into the team.
“It’s been a lot of work put in over the last probably three months,” Cloke told Fox Sports at Spotless Stadium.
“It’s nice to get rewarded.
“We got a few injuries earlier in the year and we still do, but we’re getting a bit of continuity with the boys.”
Coach Nathan Buckley was rapt with the performances of Cloke and Jesse White, who booted three of his own majors.
“Twenty-two marks between them, that’s the best performance they’ve put together for quite a while,” said Buckley, who added Cloke’s new program had been paying dividends.
“The last six or seven weeks, he’s put in hard work since receiving the feedback that we needed more from him.
“As big as it was blown up externally, all it was is ‘We think we can do better at senior level now and you need to do a bit more work’.
“He’s approached that really well, and he’s got a program in place at the moment that he’s starting to get some benefit from.
“I don’t think this game is going to be the pinnacle of that. He’s still going to reap the rewards of the work he’s doing at the moment.”