Collingwood playing for keeps
Collingwood playing for keeps

Collingwood will get the chance at the MCG today to show Travis Cloke why he should reject a big-money offer from Fremantle and remain the Magpie-for-life that Harry O'Brien has declared he wants to be.

Cloke and O'Brien loom as key players against the Dockers but the 2010 premiership stars are yet to be re-signed for next season.

Though Cloke says he wants to stay with Collingwood if the price is right, he confirmed this week that Fremantle had offered him a five-year deal worth about $1 million a season.

O'Brien was emphatic in saying he would stay with the club.

O'Brien, who has played 147 games for the Magpies, said though he did not begrudge Cloke negotiating for the best deal possible, he was happy to stay for less money than he could earn at another club.

"He's very important. He's our centre half-forward and the best contested marker in the league and has been for the last few years," O'Brien said.

"I'm out of contract, too, so I'm in the same boat and don't want to rush decisions.

"I haven't started any talks at the moment but I want to play for Collingwood for the rest of my career. I know that will be at a price.

"There are players who most probably make a move to gain more money, and I know that would be the case if I was to make a move."

Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich was reluctant to talk yesterday about the possibility of luring Cloke but acknowledged the Dockers were in the hunt.

"We have been looking at a few players out there and Travis is one of them," Rosich told Channel 7's Today Tonight.

AFL legend Leigh Matthews blasted Cloke for publicly discussing his contract negotiations.

"He's part of a team and I'm wondering what his teammates think," Matthews told afl.com.au.

"Contracts are about the individual but we are in a team sport in the middle of the season trying to win a premiership. All he did was talk about what he's doing as an individual when it should be all about the team."

O'Brien said he was pleased to produce some of his better form of the season in last Saturday's three-point win over West Coast.

He warned the Dockers not to underestimate the blistering pace of Irish debutant Caolan Mooney, claiming he had more explosive speed than Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli.

Dockers football manager Chris Bond said the visitors would embrace the chance to test themselves against the league leaders.

"We're really proud of what we've been able to do recently," Bond said.

"But in saying that, there's also some real improving we can do in regards to playing four quarters.

"It's about anywhere, anytime for our boys. They're very much aware that it's an enormous task playing against Collingwood but we want to make sure we give it our best shot."

The West Australian

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