CARLTON is set to target the recruitment of a small forward during this year's NAB AFL Trade Period.
The club's list management team has already started preparing for another significant off-season at Ikon Park, with a pressure forward high on its list of priorities.
Carlton has trialled Ed Curnow in a small forward role this season, though has been forced to use him as a tagger recently, while the club has also juggled Michael Gibbons, Jack Silvagni, Alex Fasolo and Cam Polson through the forward line at different stages.
Gold Coast gun Jack Martin has been linked to Carlton. Picture: AFL Photos
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But with no Blues currently in the top 30 for tackles inside 50 at the halfway point of the season, recruiting boss Stephen Silvagni and list manager Michael Agresta are set to narrow their focus to players that can complement an exciting crop of young tall forwards.
"Very clearly, we've got the makings of a once-in-a-generation forward line through Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay," Carlton CEO Cain Liddle told The Two Tones podcast this week.
"We now need to do some work in terms of that small crumbing defensive forward … I think most Carlton supporters can see that. But we can be very targeted with that."
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Gold Coast youngster Jack Martin has been heavily linked to a potential move to Carlton, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti remains uncontracted at rivals Essendon.
Collingwood forward Jamie Elliott is one of this year's most prized unrestricted free agents, while Port Adelaide utility Sam Gray and Richmond premiership player Dan Butler are also set to come out of contract at season's end.
Sydney forward Tom Papley, contracted for 2020, is another who has had his name tentatively mentioned in trade discussions around the League recently.
Carlton's desire for a small forward comes with the club again looking to target mature-aged talent during this year's trade and free agency period.
Collingwood's Jamie Elliott is a prized unrestricted free agent. Picture: AFL Photos
The Blues made clear their intentions to recruit older players at the conclusion of last season, dealing for Fasolo, Mitch McGovern and Nic Newman.
But they look set to make a renewed crack at securing blue-chip assets from rival sides, with co-captain Patrick Cripps still shouldering the bulk of the responsibility among a host of much younger teammates in the midfield.
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"You look at that talented group of 18 to 22 year old's we've got," Liddle said.
"You can think in your mind what it's going to look like in two or three years. But the reality is, we've got a concentrated number of players within that age group.
"We do need to go out and look at bringing some players in who are slightly older and who can play important roles for us now.
"When 'SOS' (Silvagni) got here a few years ago, it was really about getting the best available junior talent. We're now to a position where we can see what we've got to work with."