Embattled Collingwood spearhead Travis Cloke is set to be given a chance to finish his underwhelming AFL season on a high.
The Magpies finish their 2016 campaign at the MCG next Sunday, when they will seek to defeat Hawthorn and boot the triple reigning premiers from the top four.
Cloke has been dropped three times this year and played a total of 12 games, leading to speculation he will be traded at season’s end.
But the 29-year-old is almost certain to be recalled this week following Darcy Moore’s hamstring injury in the Magpies’ 71-point win over Gold Coast.
“Yeah and he’s performed really well over the last couple of weeks,” Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said of Cloke, when asked if he was the obvious replacement for Moore.
“We’ll be looking for some aerial support and Trav’s kicked five and four goals in the last two weeks, so he’s been pretty good.
“(American forward) Mason Cox played today, I saw the first half and he took a few good marks.
“We’ll pick the best side to get the job done next week.”
Moore suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter of the Magpies’ resounding triumph at Etihad Stadium.
The 20-year-old also tweaked his hamstring in round 19 against West Coast.
“He was a little bit sore when he came off against West Coast,” Buckley said.
“He missed the second half then missed the next game.
“He did everything right, ticked all the boxes and we got him back right, but clearly there’s a bit of strengthening to be done there.”
“It’s unfortunate that he’s gone down … we were still scoring effectively but we’ll miss Darce.”
Meanwhile, Buckley had no regrets about opining he would be out of a job if the Magpies missed the finals in 2017.
“We all know where we’re are, don’t we .. it doesn’t change anything, doesn’t change the reality,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have thought (it means there will be added pressure).
“We’ve got to be a better footy side, more consistent footy side. The best teams do it more consistently, so that’s our challenge.”