Jesse White is enjoying being a part of the action for Collingwood this season.
Jesse White is enjoying being a part of the action for Collingwood this season.

Future’s all black and white for this ex-Swan

BOOM Collingwood recruit Jesse White believes it is only a matter of time before Travis Cloke regains his scoring mojo and the two can start terrorising opposition defences together.

With both Cloke and White standing at 196cm, and tipping the scales at 107kg and 103kg respectively, they form an imposing pair in the Magpies' attack.

But after averaging three goals a game in recent seasons, Cloke has been held goalless three times already in 2014 for a grand total of just two majors.

"At the moment he's down a bit, but if we can get his confidence going and get the ball into his hands ... the more opportunities he can get to kick goals," White, 26, told APN this week.

"He's been great for me, teaching me how to compete really hard ... I don't think that has dropped away (Cloke's game), he still competes really hard and brings the ball to ground for us."

While small forward Jamie Elliott (11 goals) has led the way for the Magpies, White has also stepped up in the face of Cloke's woes, starring in both the round three loss to Geelong (two goals, seven marks) and last week's win over Richmond (three goals, seven marks) as a strong target in the forward-50m.

"That's what my role is as well, to try and take a bit of the heat away from him (Cloke)," White said.

"I think the more we play together the better we'll be."

Collingwood would love Cloke to find form today. He and White are keys to penetrating what has been a rock-solid North Melbourne defence which, led by fullback Scott Thompson, restricted Sydney to just six goals last week.

The Magpies don't want to be 2-3 heading into their Anzac Day clash with Essendon. "This week is huge for us," White said.

Born in Melbourne, but raised on the Gold Coast from age three, White spent six seasons with the Sydney Swans following his drafting in 2006, playing 71 games.

But after making just three appearances in their premiership year of 2012, he was seen as surplus and almost traded to Adelaide to get his former Queensland representative basketball teammate Kurt Tippett to the club.

Though that move fell through, White's days in Sydney were still numbered as the Swans "had a few eyes on a few other players", namely Hawk Lance Franklin.

Fremantle and Brisbane both showed interest in securing his services, but White was keen to get to Melbourne, where his parents and sister had returned to.

"I think Collingwood really had some confidence in me ... they felt they could really use me," he said.

"They've tried to start fresh and things like that ... it's been a good time to come into the side and be a part of a rebuild."

Also part of the growing fraternity of tattooed Magpies, alongside players such as Dane Swan and fellow Queenslander Dayne Beams, White is getting used to being recognised by Collingwood's army of supporters.

"To play for Sydney for seven years, you could pretty much do what you want - you didn't get annoyed too much or spotted," he said. "But here in Melbourne you're walking down the street and everyone knows you."

White missed Collingwood's first-round loss to Fremantle, but made a timely return for the round-two win over the Swans in Sydney.

"It was quite weird actually," he recalled. "First game for Collingwood, but not only a debut for them but playing against your old side. It was pretty surreal, and scary. I was just hoping I wasn't going to handball to the wrong person."

GAME DAY

MAGPIES V ROOS

At the MCG, 1.40pm

Also: Swans v Dockers, Bombers

v Saints, Eagles v Power.



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