Fremantle makes massive bid for free-agent Travis Cloke
Fremantle has entered the fight for Travis Cloke with a knockout offer of about $1 million a season.
As Cloke discussions continue with Collingwood, the Dockers have become the first interstate club to make a genuine play for the powerhouse forward.
The Dockers have spoken to Cloke’s manager, his father David. Talks are in their infancy.
Cloke is at the top of the Dockers’ free-agent hit list.
This year he is believed to earn about $500,000 and could expect a rise to $700,000-$800,000 in any new deal at Collingwood.
Fremantle would not comment about Cloke last night but issued a statement to the Herald Sun.
“As part of Fremantle’s broader list management strategy, we have been working on a free agency strategy for some time and we will continue to do so,” it said.
“As part of that strategy, we will speak to a range of player managers about the contract status of a number of players who are on the AFL’s free agency list. Other than that, we do not comment on speculation about player talks.”
Cloke will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, meaning Collingwood would be able to keep him by matching an offer made by a rival club.
Collingwood would receive compensatory draft picks for losing the superstar under free agency.
The Dockers have salary cap space and would need about $1 million to lure Cloke.
Fremantle’s highest-paid player, skipper Matthew Pavlich, became a veteran this year, while its second highest-paid player, Aaron Sandilands, joins the veterans’ list next year.
Only half of a veteran’s contract is included in the salary cap.
Greater Western Sydney has been linked to Cloke, but the most recent reports say he has not received an offer from the Giants.
It is understood that remains the case.
If GWS made an official approach, Cloke would have the choice of $1 million-plus contracts from two interstate clubs, or a contract from the Magpies for significantly less.
The re-signings of Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas have squeezed the cap at Collingwood.
It’s believed Cloke Sr is pursuing third-party agreements that would boost his son’s earning capacity if he stayed in Melbourne.
He recently signed with celebrity agent Ralph Carr, who is exploring commercial deals for the 25-year-old.
Cloke Sr looks after the football contracts of his son, who is in his eighth season at Collingwood.