Richmond great Kevin Bartlett believes Travis Cloke could be the missing piece of the puzzle at Tigerland and coach Damien Hardwick admits he’s a fan.
Out-of-favour power forward Cloke has been linked to a move away from Collingwood at season’s end with the Western Bulldogs and the Tigers mooted as possible destinations.
But Hardwick played a straight bat to speculation Cloke is set to take the short walk over Olympic Boulevard to join the Tigers at Punt Road Oval to begin a new chapter in his faltering 245-game career.
“(It’s) a list management decision that we don’t comment on. It’s easy to throw names around at this stage of the year, it always happens,” Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.
“(But) he’s hurt us a number of times over the course of his career, hasn’t he?
“Funnily enough he was probably Alex (Rance’s) biggest nemesis there for a while.
“Alex has managed to move above him over the last couple of years, but he’s a great player there’s no doubt about that.
“But from our point of view we keep our cards pretty close to our chest.”
Cloke, who is contracted for next year, has managed just 12 senior games this season and has kicked 15 goals in a disappointing campaign.
He has been dropped to the VFL three times by coach Nathan Buckley, with Darcy Moore, Mason Cox and Jesse White all preferred ahead of him.
Bartlett is adamant Cloke, whose father David played 219 games for Richmond, could help the Tigers bounce back into the finals after a year to forget.
“I believe Cloke needs a new home and environment and a lot of love for he seems a confused footballer to me,” Bartlett said on SEN.
“And surely he would be comfortable going to a club that his father once captained.
“The Tigers missed out on Cloke 11 years ago. It’s better late than never for he just might be the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that sees the Tigers winning a final.”