MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Mitch McGovern of the Blues looks on during the round 10 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on May 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Carlton have flagged swingman Mitch McGovern as a possible replacement to fill the void left in their defence by Liam Jones.

Jones' decision to step away from football leaves an alarming hole in the Blues' backline for 2022 - a critical campaign that has placed finals football as a benchmark for Michael Voss' first year as senior coach.

Carlton confirmed talks between the club and Jones had taken place in recent months, with the Blues perhaps able to act proactively in the off-season.

The recruitment of Bulldog Lewis Young looks to be a fitting acquisition in the wake of Jones' departure, with the 22-year-old adding 201cm of height to Carlton's defence.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Lewis Young of the Bulldogs warms up prior to the round 10 AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Speaking to SEN on Monday, Blues football boss Brad Lloyd stated the signing of Young was critical in aiding their tall defensive depths, while the likes of Caleb Marchbank and Oscar McDonald are also set to hold key roles for next year.

"With Liam turning 31 in February, we needed to keep an eye on our key position stocks," Lloyd explained.

"Our list management team identified Lewis as someone who could come in with his size and some of the attributes he's got could play a role on our list.

"We've got Lewis, Oscar McDonald, and Caleb Marchabank returning from injury, and some younger players coming through.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 28: Caleb Marchbank of the Blues handballs from Jack Lonie of the Saints during the JLT Community Series AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the St Kilda Saints at Ikon Park on February 28, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

"Lewis was someone we felt needed round out our list from a key-back point of view."

With the Blues also likely to experiment in their recruitment planning via the upcoming National Draft and next year's Supplemental Selection Period, Lloyd, Voss and the club's recruitment division will be broadening their sights for talent.

LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Mitch McGovern of the Blues celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 6 AFL match between Hawthorn and Carlton at University of Tasmania Stadium on April 28, 2019 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Despite the potential pivot in their list strategy and aforementioned current stock of tall defenders, Lloyd also gave some food to the thought of McGovern featuring in defence for Carlton next season.

"He's got some real ability," Lloyd said.

"He can play forward and he could certainly go back so that's an option for Vossy to work through, for sure."

McGovern played just the five games for the Blues in 2021 due to a hamstring complaint, first featuring in Rounds 5-7 before being sidelined until the final two matches of the year.

The Blues are set to work with the AFL in potential avenues to fill the list spot that is now vacant following Jones' retirement.

Carlton could look to gain another position in next Wednesday's National Draft, while the Rookie Draft will take place two days after.

“We’ll be able to replace Liam’s position on the list,” Lloyd added.

“The supplementary period where you have train-on players train with the club and then the ability to replace Liam’s position with one of those players post-draft.

“We’ll also discuss with the AFL the possibility of having another pick in the draft if that’s a chance.”