Essendon will have 10 newcomers in round one of the AFL, including five top-ups, and 14 players missing from round 23 in 2015.
The stark numbers show how the suspensions stemming from the Bombers’ supplements debacle have gutted the team for the 2016 season.
As Gold Coast welcome back captain Gary Ablett and vice-captain Dion Prestia for the Saturday afternoon home match, their opponents are vastly different from the team that upset Collingwood at the end of last season.
Of the 14 missing players, nine are out for 2016 as they serve their doping bans.
While Jake Carlisle (St Kilda) and Jake Melksham (Melbourne) are now elsewhere, Essendon have 12 banned players on their list.
To compensate, Essendon were allowed to recruit 10 players with AFL experience, and half of those will play their first games for the Bombers.
Top-up players Matt Dea (Richmond), former Geelong stars James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, Jonathan Simpkin (Hawthorn) and Ryan Crowley (Fremantle) add experience to Essendon’s lineup.
Standard recruits Mitch Brown (Geelong), Craig Bird (Sydney) and Matthew Leuenberger (Brisbane) are also in the team, while No.5 draft pick Darcy Parish and rookie elevation Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti will make their AFL debuts.
The eight players remaining from their round 23 team are captain Brendon Goddard, Mark Baguley, Joe Daniher, Martin Gleeson, Kyle Langford, Jackson Merrett, Shaun McKernan and David Zaharakis.
Former West Coast pair Matt Rosa and Ryan Davis, who is fresh off the Suns’ rookie list, will play their first games for Gold Coast.
Parish has helped make AFL history – this will be the first time since the draft began in 1986 that the top five picks from the previous year make their debut in round one.
Carlton’s No.1 pick Jacob Weitering played on Thursday night, while Josh Schache (Brisbane), Callum Mills (Sydney) and Clayton Oliver (Melbourne) were also picked.
GWS recruit Tom Bugg will also make his debut for the Demons on Saturday against his old club at the MCG.
The Giants feature former Geelong star Steve Johnson, but they won’t play Jonathon Patton despite being without fellow key forward Jeremy Cameron (suspension) and Cameron McCarthy (indefinite leave).
Sydney’s George Hewett and rookie elevation Tom Papley will also make their AFL debuts on Saturday night against Collingwood at the MCG.
Former Western Bulldogs defender Michael Talia and ex-West Coast ruckman Callum Sinclair are other Swans newcomers.
The Magpies have opted not to risk Ben Reid, but former Giants star Adam Treloar will make his debut with the club.
North Melbourne star Daniel Wells will play his first game since round two in 2015 when they host Adelaide on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
Jed Anderson (Hawthorn) is North’s newcomer.
Crows Wayne Milera and Mitch McGovern were picked for their AFL debuts, and former Collingwood defender Paul Seedsman is another new Crow.