AFL. The Circular Head Giants will march out with former AFL player Travis Cloke on home soil this weekend.
The former Collingwood and Western Bulldogs forward will feature with the local side in round five of the North West Football League against Penguin in Smithton this Saturday.
Recruited in the 2004 AFL Draft, Cloke followed in his father David Cloke’s footsteps to join Collingwood.
In 2007, he received the Copeland Trophy and in 2010 featured in the Magpies’ premiership team.
Cloke was named the leading goal kicker for Collingwood from 2011 to 2014 and was selected in the All Australian side in 2011 and 2013.
In 2016, he traded to the Western Bulldogs where he played 13 games before injury and a focus on mental health led to his retirement.
Now playing with Hurstbridge in the Northern Football League in Victoria alongside brother Cameron, Cloke says country football has reignited his passion for the game.
“I’m looking forward to having a bit of fun with the guys,” Cloke said ahead of the local clash.
“One of the main reasons I play is for the relationships and connections you make and hopefully I’ll walk away having met a few locals of all ages, both the younger kids watching, those I’m playing alongside and against.”
Arriving Friday, Cloke will take part in the local Auskick program, sharing words of wisdom and his tricks of the trade before taking part in a light training run with the Giants. Friday night counter meals will also be available.
Following a round four victory last weekend, Giants coach Matt Elliott says he is looking forward to building on that momentum.
“I think we need to keep it rolling on from our last half, last week,” he says.
“We started to get things going the way we want them and it was an exciting brand of footy.”
Featuring one of the game’s greatest, Elliott says he believed the appearance will boost club moral.
“It’s not too often you get a six-foot-six key forward in your side,” he says.
“I think just to have someone that has been on the big stage, and the knowledge that he will bring, I hope the boys pick his brain as much as they can.”
Cloke notched up 256 games and 452 goals between the Magpies and the Bulldogs throughout his career.
“To have someone with his experience visit is huge for the town,” he says Smithton Football Club president Nic Bellinger.
“We haven’t had anyone with this amount of experience in the community for a long time. It’s a great opportunity for our players especially our younger guys to feed off and learn from him, and to have a kick with him.”
Following the match, Cloke will talk about his career and mental health battles.
“Nothing is off limits,” he says.
- “I’ve experienced a lot in my career both highs and lows and I’ve had success as a team and as an individual.
- “I’m an open book and I do like to share my story because if I can educate one or two people to know that we all suffer in different ways then that is a positive thing.”
Smithton Football Club will present an evening with Travis Cloke at the Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre on Saturday (May 5) from 7.30pm. Tickets will be available at the door for $30 per person.