Carlton midfielder Lochie O'Brien will need to capitalise on the remaining three matches of the season to cement his place at Ikon Park past 2021.
O'Brien is currently out-of-contract at season's end and has managed just three matches since the end of 2019, finding opportunities under coach David Teague to be scarce.
The 21-year-old did impress in his return to AFL level on Friday night in the Blues' 31-point win over St Kilda, recording 21 possessions and four goal assists.
According to The Herald Sun, O'Brien will not only need to hold his place in Teague's side, but will must prove his worth for the club's future to land a new deal.
O'Brien will be hoping his performance lands selection for at least another week as the Blues eye a return to the top-eight.
Carlton are likely to be open to discussing O'Brien's services in the upcoming trade window should he fail to seal his fate before then, according to News Corp's report.
LOCHIE O'BRIEN KICKING APPRECIATION TWEET. THREE PIN POINT DELIVERIES TO HARRY MCKAY. 3 GOALS. Harry has 4.0 in the first half! Carlton by 28 points.#AFLSaintsBlues
— Carlton News, Info & Stats (@UptheBaggers) July 30, 2021
Blues list manager Nick Austin categorically ruled out moving on the Bendigo Pioneers product last November, however things could change this off-season depending on interest from elsewhere.
Should there be little interest in O'Brien's signature, the Blues could look to retain the wingman or axe him should he fail to fire in the run home.
O'Brien is among a plethora of players unsigned past this year, joining the likes of Sam Petrevski-Seton, Ed Curnow, Eddie Betts, Levi Casboult, Michael Gibbons, Matt Kennedy, Marc Murphy, Luke Parks and Jack Silvagni.