Carlton champion Chris Judd has flagged intentions for his emerging Blues to import an experienced key defender during next week’s AFL annual trading.

The Blues will make a play for out-of-contract Fremantle pair Chris Tarrant and Luke McPharlin, but appear at long odds to attract either classy big backman to join Judd and his young troops.

Carlton heavyweights will also join what is expected to be a heated chase for disgruntled Brisbane utility Jared Brennan.

Brennan averaged 20 possessions a game with the Lions this season floating mainly through midfield, but is a highly capable running defender as well.

But Brennan, 26, seems more likely to head to new club Gold Coast with his distaste for Melbourne’s bitterly cold winter weather.

Judd told an exclusive Corporate Sports luncheon before last week’s AFL grand final that a priority to building his Blues toward a top four team is adding a key defender.

“We need a key defender to free Paul Bower to be more of a running defender,” the champion midfielder said.

“We’re tired of being a mediocre team and to get to climb higher we need to improve in some key areas like our defence.”

Judd did not reveal any names in his club’s hit-list to bolster their defence.

Tarrant and McPharlin could be out of Carlton’s reach.

Tarrant, 30, looks headed to Collingwood, while McPharlin is more likely to sign a new contract with the Dockers despite surprisingly stalling for so long to make a final decision on his future.

McPharlin, 28, has played 156 games at Fremantle and has become a priority re-signing following Tarrant’s departure to live back in his home town of Melbourne.

McPharlin is spending the week in Melbourne for contract meetings with his manager and Dockers list manager Brad Lloyd and other clubs he is considering joining.

Tarrant would probably already have declared his intentions had AFL trading not been thrown into delay upheaval with Collingwood’s drawn grand final with St Kilda last week.

The Blues have moved to bolster their depleted coaching staff as well with the appointment of former Hawthorn forward John Barker as an assistant to senior coach Brett Ratten.

Barker, 35, spent just two seasons at Hawthorn as forwards coach after 2007-08 at St Kilda under Ross Lyon.

Barker is the first coaching replacement since the Blues sacked former Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs utility Brett Montgomery and former Carlton star forward Matthew Lappin almost after bowing out of this year’s finals with a narrow first week loss to Sydney.

The Blues also lost highly rated coaching specialist and St Kilda legend Robert Harvey in his return to the Saints.

Montgomery has been linked with a move back to the Bulldogs as an assistant with the departure of Leon Cameron, who went to the Hawks to replace Barker.

Montgomery, 37, has also been approached by West Coast to consider their vacancy as defensive coach.

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