28 January 1955 (age 67)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 75d
Last game: 36y 215d
Height and weight
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 100 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 8,635th player to appear, 31st most games played, 165th most goals kickedRichmond: 760th player to appear, 24th most games played, 14th most goals kickedCollingwood: 835th player to appear, 156th most games played, 156th most goals kicked
David Cloke began his career with Oakleigh Juniors where he played alongside his brother Peter, and in 1974 he went to Richmond. A premiership player in his debut season with the Tigers, Cloke started out on the half-forward flank before slotting into the pivotal centre-half forward position on the retirement of Royce Hart. He gave the club outstanding service until 1982 when he left in acrimonious circumstances after captaining them to a grand final loss against Carlton. His move to Collingwood (alongside Tiger teammate Geoff Raines) sparked a trading war between the two clubs that adversely affected both of them throughout the decade.
Significantly, it had been against the Magpies that Cloke had produced his most memorable performance, kicking six goals from a forward pocket, while nursing an injured heel, in the 1980 VFL grand final. After missing several easy shots early, due, he later noted, to not being able to feel his foot because of pain-killing injections, his ungainly kicking style eventually proved its worth on the biggest stage.
His time at Collingwood was highly successful, in an unexpected way, as early difficulties at centre-half forward, combined with the departure of Peter Moore, saw him shifted to the ruck, where despite a height disadvantage he became one of the outstanding followers of the decade, narrowly missing the 1984 Brownlow Medal to the aforementioned Moore. He went on to play 114 games for the black and whites.
His form tailed off in 1989, and retirement beckoned, but he somewhat surprisingly (given the bad feeling that was felt about his initial departure) returned to Tigerland where he produced two more solid seasons. The end of his AFL career was remarkable, in that at the age of 36, he was voted best-on-the-ground in his last three matches, including his final match against Carlton when he popped through eight goals after being moved to the forward line late in the first quarter.
In 1992 Cloke joined Ainslie (in the Canberra league) as captain-coach, and promptly steered the Tricolours to a flag, a success repeated the following year when he won the Alex Jesaulenko Trophy for best afield in the Grand Final. The 1994 season saw him installed as coach of Port Melbourne, where he added four final senior games.
Somewhat surprisingly, given his all-round value for the teams he played with, David Cloke's only club best and fairest award came in 1992 with Ainslie. He did, however, achieve All Australian selection after representing Victoria at the Perth state of origin carnival of 1979.
Author - John Devaney and Adam Cardosi