RESPECTED AFL journalist Mike Sheahan has slammed Collingwood supporters for their treatment of Travis Cloke on Friday night.
The veteran footy journalist was appalled at how the Magpies faithful disrespected a former player when he lined up against his old side for the Western Bulldogs at the MCG in round one.
Cloke - who played at Collingwood for over a decade before being traded to the Dogs late last year - was roundly booed by those in black and white during the course of the match. The taunts were particularly savage when he marked and lined up for a shot at goal in the opening quarter.
Sheahan said he lost respect for Pies supporters in the stands who hammered Cloke even though it wasn't his decision to leave the club. Out of form and struggling to make Nathan Buckley's best team every week in 2016, Collingwood showed the left-footer the door.
"The bogan element of the Collingwood supporter group - and they're not insignificant - they plumbed new depths the other night with Travis Cloke," Sheahan said on SEN radio on Monday.
"Travis Cloke is out of Collingwood because they didn't want him.
"If they've run away and taken the money, you could argue that case (to boo him). But I thought the contrast between the scenes at Essendon (and) Hawthorn and the Bombers with the pure joy there, just to me contrasted what the Collingwood people (did)."
Booing Cloke was embarrassing, bro Jason is right. Gave his heart and soul to our club, most of us respect that #AFLPiesDogs— Paul Bastin (@paulbastin10) 25 March 2017
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire already has enough early worries after Jordan De Goey was fined and suspended for lying about how he broke his hand, so he can do without the added publicity the team's round one match will bring.
It's nothing new for former players to cop stick when returning to face their old team, but Sheahan said Collingwood's disrespect will only be made more evident when a couple of ex-Hawthorn stars play against Alastair Clarkson's side for the first time this season.
Sam Mitchell (West Coast) and Jordan Lewis (Melbourne) were both key figures in helping the Hawks win three premierships on the trot but were offered to other teams in 2017 as the club looks towards the future.
"Hawthorn won't do it when Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis play against them. I thought it was disgraceful," Sheahan said.
Cloke's brother Jason - a former Collingwood player himself - took to Instagram to vent his displeasure at how fans treated his sibling.
"Well done Collingwood boo a bloke that gives you 12 years of sweat and tears and was made to go then you boo him," Jason wrote. "Kill them bro."
Cloke managed to get the last laugh over his tormentors when he kicked a goal for the defending premiers in their 100-86 win over Collingwood.
Another star in a similar situation to Cloke had a much better time of it in round one. Former North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie is playing for West Coast this season and he took on the Kangaroos in Melbourne on Sunday.
The visitors came away with a comfortable 136-93 win but that didn't dim the home team's respect for its beloved veteran. He was applauded rather than booed and a video was played on the big screen at half-time paying tribute to the man who wore the blue and white stripes for 15 years.