DO not expect Cameron Cloke to be Jacana’s stay-at-home forward in 2019.
New Jaguars coach Matthew Huy this week told essendondfl.com.au he has been working on a new role with his prized recruit throughout the pre-season.
“I spoke with Cam about (a new role) and told him what I was thinking and he was more than obliging,” Huy revealed.
“He’s worked his arse off at training to get himself fit so that he can move up the ground.
“Cam’s not going to be just a forward. He wants to play up (the ground) a little bit. He’s a lot fitter than he was two years ago.
“If we feel that’s where he needs to be, then he’ll even go and have a stint in the ruck.”
In Jacana’s 2017 Strathmore Community Bank Division 2 premiership campaign, Cloke rarely left the forward half and booted 127 goals, including seven in the grand final win over Coburg Districts.
After leaving the Jags to play with Hurstbridge and Barooga in 2018, Cloke has returned to the Jags to help fill the void left behind by brother, Jason.
Cameron’s new role will be akin to that played by Jason in 2018, where he was named at centre-half back in the Division 1 Team of the Year, despite kicking 33 goals in all 16 games.
After just one win in what was a doomed Division 1 campaign, the relegated Jags will re-enter Division 2 this year without numerous key players at their disposal, including Billy Morrison, Justin Colliss and Josh Young.
Despite that, Huy is confident Jacana’s ‘ins’ outweigh the ‘outs’ and the overall make-up of his side will be able to offset the gaps left behind by the departing players.
“Some fringe players have been stepping up at training, but some of our recruits have well and truly covered what we let go,” Huy said.
Many Division 2 pundits have Jacana firmly at the top of their list for flag favouritism, and rightly so given Cloke’s complete dominance over the competition two years ago.
Huy is aware of that outside noise, but the focus of his first pre-season with the Jags has been more centred on making Jacana a happier place for players to be part of.
“We are not going in thinking this is going to be a walk in the park for us, because we know it’s not,” he said.
“We know the competition is going to be tough and hopefully we’re going to be prepared for the challenges that we’ll face during the year.
“My biggest thing is trying to make sure that training’s been enjoyable, as well as beneficial.
“It’s about making sure the boys come back so we can have success on and off the field in 2019.”
In: Cameron Cloke (forward, Barooga), Justin Cluney (defender, Reservoir), Dale Keenan (forward, Wallan), Craig Poynter (defender, Reservoir), Liam Lucas (midfielder, Wallan), Kane Murfett (ruck/forward, Pascoe Vale), Bailey Dalgleish (midfielder, Moonee Valley) & Dylan Hoysted (forward, Whittlesea)
Out: Jason Cloke (Broadbeach), Justin Mall (retired), Chris Davies (Templestowe), Justin Colliss (Oak Park), Josh Young (Craigieburn), Billy Morrison (Craigieburn), Zach Racovolis (Airport West) & Jacob Austin (Craigieburn)