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Buckley puts heat on Cloke ahead of Anzac Day clash

Giulio Di Giorgio  April 18, 2016 8:47 PM

Buckley: We disappeared for 40 minutes Nathan Buckley laments his team's lapse
We need him to stand up more than he has at this point in time, and this is going to be a tough period for him

FORM and fitness will determine whether Collingwood forward Travis Cloke plays in next Monday's Anzac Day blockbuster against Essendon, coach Nathan Buckley says.

The out-of-form 29-year-old remains under an injury cloud after hurting his right elbow in a marking contest early in the final quarter of the Magpies' 35-point loss to Melbourne on Sunday.

Compounding matters, Cloke has struggled to replicate his performances from previous seasons, with inaccuracy in front of goal continuing to haunt the wayward forward.

He has registered five goals and taken just three contested marks so far this season.

Buckley, who forecast changes at the selection table after the loss to the Demons, said Cloke would need to quickly improve his output or face the prospect of being omitted.

"We have to look at his elbow and see how that goes," Buckley told Fox Footy on Monday night.

"He's a senior player with 230 games' experience and we need him to stand up more than he has at this point in time, and this is going to be a tough period for him.

"When you're performing the way we're performing at the moment, everything's on the table [being omitted from the squad]."

Despite returning to the field shortly afterwards against the Demons, Cloke showed obvious signs of pain and had trouble raising his injured arm above his head.

The 237-gamer was rested in the latter part of the game.

The Magpies were left reeling from their loss to the Dees, which leaves them with just one win from the opening four rounds.