If Fremantle has – as reported in Melbourne this morning – offered Travis Cloke a five-year deal at more than $1 million a season, then it needs to have a good, hard look at itself.

There is no doubt the Dockers need key forwards and Travis Cloke is one who, under the new free agency rules, is technically on the market.

But there are a couple of things worth noting here.

One is that five-year deals generally don’t work out. History shows this, even as far back as when Brisbane gave Chris Scott one during its premiership era.

Secondly, Cloke isn’t worth $1 million a year. I don’t consider him to be as good a player as his teammates Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dale Thomas and his form this year hasn’t been his best.

Some might say he’s been distracted by contract talks but, to those people, I hold up Shane Warne as an example.

Warnie, whatever was going on off the field, always produced. Cloke isn’t doing that right now.

However, Fremantle has the right idea if it’s fishing in other clubs’ waters to try and bolster and finetune its list.

Ross Lyon told us on Radio 6PR’s Sports Central on Monday night that the Dockers weren’t rebuilding but were “building on [top] of a rebuild”.

I agree, which is why I’ve compiled the following list of players Fremantle should try to get its hands on to complement the likes of Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin,as they enter the twilights of their careers.

Jack Gunston

“Jack who?” you might well ask. But here is all Freo supporters need to know – he’s young (20), key position size (193cm) and could play as a tall forward for the next decade. Was highly rated by the Crows, who reluctantly traded him at the end of last season to Hawthorn, where he’s stuck behind Buddy Franklin and Jarryd Roughed and has only played one game. The Hawks are in clear need of a ruckman, the Dockers seem to have one going spare in Jon Griffin, who is up to playing AFL but seemingly won’t get too many chances with Sandilands and Zac Clarke around. Given the Jack Anthony situation, Dockers fans might be wary about taking on another forward named Jack but Freo administrators should at least give Hawthorn a call and see if there is any chance of a swap.

Brendon Goddard

I wouldn’t pay Travis Cloke $1 million a year but I would give Goddard a contract worth that much. Has just turned 27, will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season and played his best footy under Ross Lyon at St Kilda. Scott Watters has the Saints up and going at the moment but it’s not unrealistic to suggest Goddard would be closer to a premiership if he went to Fremantle. The attractions for the Dockers should be obvious. Goddard is an elite kick (something Freo really needs) and is a four-in-one player: he can play inside or outside midfield, off a half-back flank to break a tag or generate run and up forward as a tall-ish marking target alongside Pavlich.

Jared Brennan
One from left-field but would be a good fit for Freo because of his versatility and athleticism. Has been dropped by the winless Gold Coast during the past month and, if the Suns don’t rate him, someone else should take a chance on his mercurial talents. Would be on a fair-sized pay packet on the Coast and the Suns might even be willing to continue to pay part of his contract to get the rest of the money off their books. Could blossom again if given the opportunity to play at Subiaco every second week and, like with Gunston, Freo should pick up the phone and at least ask the question. 

Kane Lucas
Carlton will likely want to play hard ball with Lucas, say he was a high draft choice (No. 12) in 2009 and that it wants to keep him. But the fact is that he’s been in and out of the Blues’ side this season and was the sub two weeks ago against Melbourne. Still to turn 21, can play midfield or as an opportunistic forward and there is the come-home factor, given he hails from East Fremantle. 

Stefan Martin
Another left-fielder but showed something for Melbourne last year. Is 25, athletic, has a mature body (198cm, 103kg) and, I believe, is a better player than Kepler Bradley in that back-up ruckman/forward role. Has played only the two games at Melbourne so far this season and would come relatively cheaply. 

Bottom line, the Dockers are crazy if they put all their eggs in the Cloke basket when there are smaller and less expensive fish that might prove even sweeter.

Hero of the week: Buddy Franklin
Who else? Nice to get a reminder, just when you think the days of big goal-scoring have gone past, of the excitement value of a rampaging full-forward.

Interesting to note Buddy’s 13 goals came from 23 possessions and 22 kicks. That’s why I’d pay him $1 million but not Travis Cloke – with all due respect to Travis, he could never produce a performance like that.

Goat of the week: Lindsay Thomas
On the eve of his 100th game, reportedly saw fit to be tired and emotional and was promptly dropped. Hasn’t been picked since. Enough said.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm:
West Coast fans are a tough mob to please.

They are up in arms over Jack Darling’s late touched soccer attempt on goal during Sunday’s loss to Brisbane and the need to go to the video umpire. But they seem to conveniently overlook the six goals the Eagles were handed directly from free kicks or 50-metre penalties.

HARDEN up folks.

And, while you’re at it, tell me how wrong I’ve been in questioning West Coast’s credentials to win big games on the road – just OK in beating GWS in round three, barely got by Richmond in round five, flogged by Essendon in round seven and now beaten by an average Brisbane team in round 10.

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