Collingwood forward Travis Cloke’s mooted shift to Western Bulldogs is far from a fait accompli, according to Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.
Cloke, who played 13 AFL games and was dropped three times in 2016, formally requested a trade to the Bulldogs last week.
The power forward is contracted to the Magpies until the end of the 2017 season, having signed a five-year deal in 2012.
It means Cloke will be forced to remain a Magpie unless the club agrees on a deal in trade period.
Buckley made it clear he wanted to see Cloke happy and playing his best footy.
“And if he feels that’s going to be elsewhere I need to listen to that,” Buckley told Fox Footy.
However, Buckley added Collingwood’s best interests would be paramount in any trade.
“If we need to hold him to his contract, we will,” he said.
“He knows that’s still a possibility. He’s contracted next year.
“But if we get fair compensation, it works in our favour and we can give Trav his wish while servicing Collingwood’s needs well then we’ll do that.”
Buckley leapt to the defence of the 29-year-old.
“Is Clokey not allowed to have a run of poor form?,” he said.
“I reckon he’s still got some good footy in him.
“It could be a couple of seasons of good footy, it could be three or four.”
Regarding the prospect of the Magpies paying part of Cloke’s 2017 salary after a potential trade, Buckley indicated it was unlikely but “other guys will make that assessment”.