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Travis Cloke is not past his best, says Nathan Buckley

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Nanjing Night Net

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says axed forward Travis Cloke is capable of returning to his best football.

Cloke, 29, was dropped to the VFL on the weekend, kicking two goals in a five-disposal game for the Pies’ reserves against Essendon.

His replacement — American Mason Cox — impressed against the Bombers in the Magpies’ 69-point win at the MCG on Monday. Cox had 10 disposals, took two contested marks, and kicked the game’s opening goal.

That inevitably led to questions about Cloke’s future. Like Buckley, the spearhead is contracted until the end of 2017.

Questioned about whether Cloke was past his best, Buckley backed his forward to return to the form that made him one of the AFL’s best between 2011 and 2013.

“I don’t think so,” Buckley told Channel Nine when posed the question on Monday night.

“I certainly hope not. But there’s no guarantees either way.

“He’s got to get back his love for the game, first and foremost. I think he’s weighed down by expectation as most great players are.

“In the end, Trav’s still 29. He’s still in the midst of where he could be playing his best footy.

“For whatever reason it’s not coming together for him. We’ve got to continue to work with him.”

Buckley added that there was scope for Cox and Cloke to play in the same forward line.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.