AFL power clubs Hawthorn and Carlton are poised to strike as prime movers in bidding to sign departing Fremantle star Chris Tarrant.

Tarrant is expected to inform Dockers officials immediately after Fremantle end their finals campaign that he plans to return to his home town Melbourne, whether he continues his AFL career or not.

Despite ambitious claims from Dockers management that Tarrant could yet sign a new contract to extend his stay in the west, the experienced big man looks certain not to continue at Fremantle.

Lucrative offers from the likes of Hawthorn and the Blues and a burning ambition from Tarrant to play in finals with another big brand club is likely to prompt the strapping key position all-rounder to play on.

St Kilda is another club on the verge of a premiership that is expected also to bid for Tarrant, as well as North Melbourne where his young brother Robbie plays.

Tarrant turns 30 later this month and is in recovery from a serious knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Round 18 after he had missed a month with a nagging Achilles complaint.

The 233-game veteran is not expected to play any part in Fremantle’s finals series, even if the young Dockers progress past the experienced Hawthorn in the opening week of the campaign.

On the verge of Fremantle’s first finals campaign since 2006, Dockers coach Mark Harvey conceded that his big defender is considering a move back home.

But Harvey refused to give up hope of retaining Tarrant who has been converted from a struggling key forward in his opening two seasons at Fremantle to one of the most reliable key defensive players in the business.

Harvey revealed that Tarrant and his management have held contract discussions with Fremantle as recently as last week.

“Naturally we will sit down and have sat down over the last week or so and be having some chats about his future,” Harvey said on Perth radio 6PR.

“There is a little bit of interest in going home. But we would like to make sure he stays here for the next two years anyhow.

“He is still going through and progressing, with his injury at the moment.”

Tarrant will be one of the most sought after players on this year’s trade market.

His move will command at least the swap of a top player as well as early draft pick in trade currency.

Hawks and Blues officials are expected to head the race to convince Tarrant to continue playing as an integral part of their premiership plans within the next two to three seasons.

The Hawks and Blues are both playing cut-throat elimination encounters in the opening weekend of finals but will turn attentions to recruiting key position players during trade week next month.

Tarrant’s imminent departure from Fremantle is one the AFL’s worst kept secrets.

The former Collingwood pin-up forward and 2003 All-Australian has resurrected his career in the past two seasons as a key defender in Fremantle’s build toward a potential finals force.

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