Cloke impact will be visible, says Beveridge

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Travis Cloke looms as a key figure in the Western Bulldogs’ premiership defence, with coach Luke Beveridge adamant he won’t be the same player he was at Collingwood.

Beveridge is bullish about the future of the big-name recruit, and believes he will be a key cog in developing the Dogs’ new-look forward line.

Cloke will make his Bulldogs debut on Friday night against his former side at the MCG, a ground where he has kicked more than 300 of his 441 career goals.

The decision to trade for Cloke has created debate in football circles as to whether he can fit into the Bulldogs’ fast-moving and evolving game plan.

But Beveridge says he’s not the same player who wore black and white stripes for the last 12 seasons.

“He will definitely be a different player at the Western Bulldogs because of the way we do things and our expectations of what his output looks like,” said Beveridge.

“I don’t think he changes us structurally, he’ll still fit into our plans we like to set up down there.

“He’ll just be one of the six down there and we’ll expect him to play well in all the phases, which he will.”

Cloke has impressed his new teammates with his professionalism on the training track, and his lean shape.

He may not have been able to get a game for a team that finished 12th, but he looks certain to be a key pillar in the forward line of the premiership team.

“He’ll get first run at it,” Beveridge said in relation to selection.

Throughout his career, Cloke has been particularly durable.

From his third year in league football – 2007 – all the way through to 2014, he has played at least 20 games in every season.

He played 17 in 2015 when soft tissue injuries began to worry him and then 13 last year in a season where Pies coach Nathan Buckley dropped him three times.

If Beveridge is able to get Cloke back playing his best football – when he was one of the game’s most intimidating and damaging forwards – then it will be more proof of his coaching prowess.

“He’s a new recruit who’s got a lot of good footy in him at this level. He’s only 29, he’s really fit and he is an endurance outfit and works extremely hard. He sets a fine example in any organisation,” said Beveridge.

“He will change us because I think there will be more opportunities through him.”

The Bulldogs have won three of their last four opening round matches, which included last year’s 65-point drubbing of Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.

For the Magpies, round one has provided some stinging memories in recent times, particularly last season, when they were humiliated by Sydney at the SCG to the tune of 80 points.

The loss came shortly after the entire club was rocked by a drug scandal.

In 2015, they scraped past Brisbane by 12 points, while in 2014 it was another heavy defeat when they were smashed by Fremantle by 70 points at Etihad Stadium. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_tiles’);