CARLTON football operations manager Steven Icke has confirmed the club will make a play for Robert Warnock after the talented ruckman informed Fremantle he will be returning home to Victoria for family reasons.
Icke will meet with Warnock's manager Colin Young in Perth over the weekend to discuss the prospect of the 21-year-old moving to the Blues, who are desperate to snare a second tap specialist to complement emerging star Matthew Kreuzer.
Carlton, already boasts a stellar midfield with onballers such as Chris Judd, Nick Stevens, Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy, and could strengthen it even further should it be able to team up Warnock with the 19-year-old Kreuzer.
"When we did our list analysis at the end of the year we realised we could do with the services of a ruckman to build our midfield stocks and we've been looking at the options available for us to fill that position," Icke told AAP.
"Now that Warnock is indicating he's coming to Melbourne we'd be negligent if we didn't pursue, or at least have a chat to him, about what his intentions are.
"I think we need to start putting our case forward as soon as we can, that's if we are allowed to.
"They may already have a different strategy but we need to make contact now with his manager, which we'll do.
"I think he's one of the more outstanding young ruckmen coming through.
"The fact he led Fremantle's ruck division for the latter half of 2007 (when Aaron Sandilands was out with a groin injury) and did it very well (was impressive).
"He's been in the system for three years now and he's been working with Aaron Sandilands which has been really good experience for him."
But the Blues face a tough task to secure the 206cm Victorian, who has also attracted strong interest from Melbourne, where his brother Matthew plays.
Warnock also shares a strong bond with former Fremantle coach Chris Connolly, who is now Melbourne's football operations manager.
The Demons launched a brazen bid for Warnock's services in August, when Connolly, coach Dean Bailey and a group of players made a powerpoint presentation to Warnock, whose season had already ended due to a shoulder injury.
Icke said Carlton were yet to decide what they could offer Fremantle for Warnock.
"There's probably no point even thinking about it until such time we find out about what his intentions are," Icke said.
Warnock, who played 21 games for the Dockers after being snared with pick No.42 in the 2005 national draft, said his decision to leave Fremantle was for family reasons.
"This is simply a personal decision to head home to be closer to my family in Melbourne," Warnock said.