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Cloke admits: I 'deserved everything most people said' about poor form

Travis Cloke of the Magpies celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL Round 12 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, Melbourne on June 09, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Travis Cloke says his football wasn't up to scratch at the start of the season
A lot of the criticism that I came under was justified, I deserved everything most people said
Travis Cloke
TRAVIS Cloke says he deserved all the criticism he copped during his slow start to 2014, admitting his form was not up to scratch.

Cloke had been the model of consistency for Collingwood heading into 2014, having topped the club's goalkicking in the previous three seasons with 69, 59 and 68 goals respectively.

The Magpie spearhead had also led the competition in contested marks since 2010, averaging 2.6 a game last season.

However, in Collingwood's first nine games this year, Cloke went from goalsquare behemoth to mere mortal.

He kicked just 10 goals in that stretch, was held goalless in four games, while averaging 1.3 contested marks a game.

Cloke predictably came in for a torrent of criticism at the time.

But he told SEN radio station on Thursday morning he had deserved it.

"I don't really read too much into the paper or outside opinion or what others say, but obviously people are entitled to their own opinions," Cloke said.

"A lot of the criticism that I came under was justified, I deserved everything most people said.

"My football wasn't up to scratch.

"It was nice that 'Bucks' (Nathan Buckley) showed some faith and kept me in there and things started to turn."

Things certainly have turned for Cloke in the past three weeks.

In that time, he has kicked 13 goals, including a bag of five against St Kilda in round 11 and six against the Western Bulldogs last Sunday, while he has averaged three contested marks a game.

However, Cloke is not about to start resting on his laurels, saying he is not assuming he has turned the corner and his good form will just automatically continue.

Cloke said one of his goals at the start of this season had been to improve his defensive pressure.

And he said improvement in that area helped keep him in the team when his offensive output dried up early in the season.

"Looking at (my defensive) numbers throughout the whole year they're actually quite consistent, so even through that patch of form where things weren't going great I was still getting good numbers in there," Cloke said.

"So that's developing. Obviously, the other side of the game is starting to come back again, which is probably my more natural side.

"I guess Bucks and the rest of the coaching staff were happy because I had a defensive side to my game and that's probably what kept the faith with them.

"The game of football is played in more of a defensive way now. It's not all offence, so you've got to do something in that side of the field."

Cloke said he felt his return to form started about five or six weeks ago, when he started to find the right balance in his game between defence and attack.

"I think over the past five to six weeks I've started to find that (balance) even though I wasn't getting results in some of those games," Cloke said.

"But my output defensively was good and it was also a matter of just holding some marks. I was dropping some absolute sitters that normally I wouldn't even think twice about.

"It was quite frustrating but (I put in) a lot of man hours on the track to pull it all back together."

Twitter: @AFL_Nick.