Fremantle could be left with nothing for homesick defender Chris Tarrant as Collingwood prepare to dig in on a deal to win back the services of their one-time enigmatic forward.

The Dockers and Magpies discussed initial plans yesterday at the opening of the AFL’s annual trade week, but remain divided over an acceptable deal.

Spicing up the issue is Tarrant’s influential manager Paul Connors, who just 12 months ago went through a protracted week when he tried to deliver former St Kilda captain Luke Ball to Collingwood. The Saints’ hard stance and Collingwood’s refusal to compromise, saw Ball forced into the national draft where he was eventually selected by the Magpies with the 30th pick overall.

Tarrant, whose career has been resurrected as a defender under Dockers coach Mark Harvey, only wants to return to his former club.

The Dockers inquired unsuccessfully about premiership players Chris Dawes, Tyson Goldsack and Sharrod Wellingham. Collingwood suggested John Anthony, who is happy to look at a trade, and Leon Davis.

Tarrant, who is eligible for the veterans list at Collingwood next year, could attempt to go to the club through the draft with nominated contract terms.

Hawthorn, who were considered a strong chance to bid for the 30-year-old, backed away yesterday when it was made clear that Collingwood was his desired home.

The stand-off may only be broken if Fremantle agree to take a draft pick instead of a Magpies player.

Otherwise, he is likely to get to Collingwood by nominating, like Ball, for the national or pre-season drafts.

Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond said he was hopeful a deal could still be done before next Monday’s trade deadline.

“Obviously we’ve got Chris Tarrant who’s shown a desire to go to Collingwood, so we’ll just keep working through that with them,” Bond said.

“I think we’ve shown the last couple of years, as long as everything is fair and reasonable, that something gets done and we’re expecting that to happen. But we’ve got a bit of water to go under the bridge yet.

“We’ll just take our time. We’re happy to fall back on other stuff if we have to.”

Fremantle are unlikely to be bludgeoned into a player trade following their success in the past season through the young players drafted through a strict list management model.

That has been bolstered by the re-signings of key trio Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and David Mundy.

Coach Mick Malt-house confirmed strong interest in Tarrant on Melbourne radio yesterday as he looks to replenish his premiership squad following the retirements of Paul Medhurst, Tarkyn Lockyer, Shane O’Bree and Sean Rusling.

A decision is yet to be made on the playing future of key defender Simon Prestigiacomo.

It is understood that neither Fremantle nor West Coast are interested in Davis, who was dumped from the premiership team but is still contracted to the Magpies until the end of 2011.

Port Adelaide forward Daniel Motlop, who wants to move to one of the Perth-based clubs for family reasons, is also only a long shot to be granted his wish.

Fremantle have shown interest in Brisbane’s East Fremantle recruit Mitch Clark and Richmond defender Will Thursfield.

Lions coach Michael Voss has had recent discussions with Clark and believes the 22-year-old will remain in Queensland next year.

North Melbourne are understood to have made a bid for Eagles forward Ben McKinley, who has asked to be traded back home to Victoria, but the club is still seeking a similar deal for defender Matt Spangher.

The hard-working 23-year-old’s chances may have been hindered by the trade availability of Tarrant and Carlton veteran Bret Thornton.

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