Carlton’s side is shrinking faster than their AFL finals prospects, with injuries to Matthew Kreuzer, Lachie Henderson and Andrew Walker shredding the Blues’ big man stocks.
Carlton have been forced to catapult untried Levi Casboult from the rookie list to starting ruckman, as Kreuzer (hip) joined ruck colleagues Robbie Warnock (suspension) and Shaun Hampson (knee) on the sidelines.
Walker (calf) joined Jarrad Waite (back) on the injury list, forcing Bret Thornton and Matthew Watson to be named as key planks of a makeshift attack, while the absence of Henderson (groin) throws out their defence.
With skipper Chris Judd (suspension) out of the midfield, the Blues have included a second debutant, Tom Bell, to play the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The struggling Dogs have their own problems, losing Lukas Markovic (hamstring), Tory Dickson (adductor) and Clay Smith (calf), but have welcomed back veteran forward Daniel Giansiracusa among five changes.
Greater Western Sydney have handed finals aspirants Fremantle a free hit at a percentage-booster, leaving out a host of their best players among at least eight changes for Sunday’s clash in Perth.
The absentees include key forwards Jonathon Patton and Jeremy Cameron (back), veterans Dean Brogan and Chad Cornes and young midfield stars Stephen Coniglio (back) and Taylor Adams.
The Giants will field at least two debutants, Gerald Ugle and Sam Frost, while Israel Folau returns.
Fremantle have lost Chris Mayne (calf) and Greg Broughton (back).
Adelaide have made six changes, including the welcome returns of back key forward Kurt Tippett and experienced backman Michael Doughty, for Saturday’s AAMI Stadium meeting with West Coast.
The Eagles have been strengthened by the return of forwards Quinten Lynch and Ashton Hams and backman Beau Waters, with Jack Darling named despite a hamstring concern.
Essendon have regained forwards Stewart Crameri and Angus Monfries for Friday night’s clash with Geelong, while the Cats have lost Allen Christensen (shoulder).
Brendon Goddard and Jack Steven return from suspension for St Kilda for Sunday’s SCG encounter with Sydney.
Collingwood recalled youngsters Tom Young and Paul Seedsman for Saturday’s MCG blockbuster against an unchanged Hawthorn.
Brisbane have lost midfielder Daniel Rich to suspension for Saturday’s derby against Gold Coast.
Melbourne will be without Mark Jamar (calf), Jamie Bennell (knee) and Jordie McKenzie (groin) for Saturday night’s Darwin meeting with Port Adelaide.
The Power regained skipper Dom Cassisi.
Richmond have named Ivan Maric to return from injury and Dustin Martin and Daniel Jackson from suspension for Sunday’s MCG encounter with North Melbourne.
The Kangaroos, who have lost Jack Ziebell to suspension, kept Leigh Adams and Drew Petrie in their squad despite fitness queries.
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