Carlton coach Michael Voss addresses his players during the Blues' round 15 against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium on June 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON coach Michael Voss says the club will pursue compensation for losing Liam Jones "as strongly as we possibly can" following the AFL's decision to end its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Key defender Jones refused to comply with the mandate and opted to retire last November, rather than move to the Blues' inactive list.

The 31-year-old has since been playing in Queensland's state league but is now tipped to attempt an AFL comeback, having met informally with Essendon last week.

Under league rules, players who retire and negotiate exits from their club are not allowed to join another club for at least 18 months.

Liam Jones during Carlton's official team photo shoot at Ikon Park on February 26, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Given Jones' unusual situation, the league could make an exception.

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Voss on Friday confirmed reports the Blues will seek compensation from the AFL if Jones signs for a rival club, but it's unclear what form that might take.

"There's probably a lot you could speculate on," Voss said.

"The conversations we'll just continually have and see what's there for us.

"It's been quite unique and complex, I think everyone appreciates that.

"We respect Liam's position but we've also got a position as a club we need to take and we'll follow through as strongly as we possibly can to see what's available to us."

Carlton's Liam Jones and Adelaide's Riley Thilthorpe in R15, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The AFL denied Carlton's request for another pick at the end of last year's draft as a way of replacing Jones on their list.

The Blues have since made list management decisions around Jones' absence, including recruiting former North Melbourne defender Sam Durdin via the mid-season draft.

Jones and former Brisbane Lions midfielder Cameron Ellis-Yolmen were the only men's players to step away from the AFL rather than be vaccinated.

West Coast premiership forward Jack Darling eventually agreed to have the jab on the eve of the season after being unable to train with the Eagles for the majority of the pre-season.