Carlton is restructuring its recruiting department on the eve of the 2014 season, having made veteran recruiter Wayne Hughes redundant.
The Blues have pushed out Hughes, the former recruiting boss who presided over several national drafts before he was supplanted by current head of recruiting Shane Rogers after the 2011 draft. Carlton will replace Hughes by upgrading two younger part-timers to full-time positions.
Hughes is the second full-time member of Carlton’s heavily scrutinised recruiting department to have left the club since November, with Luke Williams having quit for personal reasons. Williams, who came from Geelong, has since started working for Richmond in recruiting.
Rogers was promoted to replace Hughes, 59, as head of recruiting at the behest of then senior coach Brett Ratten before Christmas in 2011, with Hughes staying on and reporting to Rogers.
The change in the recruiting department comes as coach Mick Malthouse enters his second season.
Hughes was the recruiter responsible for drafting Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy and Matthew Kreuzer at pick No.1 over three consecutive seasons. In 2005, he had one of his best selections when he picked Josh Kennedy at No.4 in the same draft in which Murphy was chosen at No.1. Hughes also selected Chris Yarran with No.6 in 2008, having earlier selected Jordan Russell, who was delisted in 2012, at No.9 in 2004.
Some of Carlton’s other top-20 choices – Shaun Hampson and Shaun Grigg – have been offloaded to the Tigers, while Kane Lucas, pick 12 in 2009, Matthew Watson (18 in 2010) and Josh Bootsma (22 in 2011) have not established themselves.
The Blues have fared better in the last-chance rookie draft than with late first-round, early-second and third-round picks, having gained Michael Jamison, their premier key defender, and tough midfielder Andrew Carrazzo, from the rookie list, along with speedy small forward Jeff Garlett.
More recently, Zach Tuohy and Tom Bell, a standout in pre-season, have been rookie upgrades. Eddie Betts, who left the Blues to take up a sizeable offer from for Adelaide, was a pre-season draft pick in 2005.
Carlton’s recruiting has been the focus of considerable attention from within the club and also among prominent supporters, including powerful benefactor, pokies magnate Bruce Mathieson, who has been critical of the club’s drafting and has a nephew, Craig, on the club board, which has closely scrutinised recruiting.