Carlton has wheeled out its blue-chip sales team, using club legends Stephen Kernahan and Chris Judd in a bid to lure Tom Rockliff.
The Herald Sun can reveal Kernahan and Judd flanked Blues coach Brendon Bolton in a recent meeting with Rockliff and his manager, Tom Petroro.
Carlton is desperate to secure the services of the former Brisbane Lions captain, aware that its midfield needs top-end reinforcements.
The Blues have already told Bryce Gibbs they have no plans to trade him to Adelaide, should the Crows again come knocking.
Carlton have put a huge asking price of two first-round draft picks and a player on Gibbs’ head in a clear message they do not want him going anywhere.
The onballer, 28, still has two years to run on a five-year deal worth about $600000 a season.
Rockliff faces a choice between two clubs — the Blues and Port Adelaide — with Lions officials conceding he was little chance of staying at the Gabba.
The midfielder held talks with the Blues last Tuesday, with Carlton team of the century captain Kernahan and dual Brownlow medallist Judd spouting the virtues of joining the club.
Rockliff met with Power officials days later.
Port also met with Melbourne outcast Jack Watts and is interested in Geelong’s Steven Motlop, but it is understood Rockliff is their recruiting priority.
Brisbane, which had Rockliff on the trading block last year before a lack of interest saw him stay put, had made him an offer following an improved 2017 season.
Rockliff was relieved of the captaincy and worked well with new coach Chris Fagan in a campaign that has made the 27-year-old an enticing prospect.
It doesn’t appear that the Lions’ shock acquisition of Luke Hodge will have any baring on Rockliff’s decision.
Hodge was lured out of retirement by a determined Fagan, who would not take no for an answer in a month-long pursuit of the Hawthorn great.
As a restricted free agent, the Lions will have the chance to match any contract offer for Rockliff.
If they don’t, as expected, an end-of-first-round draft pick seems the likely compensation.
The Victorian-born former rookie captained the Lions for two years, won two best-and-fairests and earned All-Australian honours in 2014.
He has played 154 games for the Lions since debuting for them in 2009.
— Sam Edmund, Herald-Sun