Carlton will fight North Melbourne’s tall timber with a ferocious ground-game as the Blues look to be the first to take down the AFL leaders this season.
In attack and in the centre-circle, Carlton appears undermanned.
The loss of Matthew Kreuzer (knee) in the ruck is ill-timed, with All-Australian Todd Goldstein looming for Blues debutant Daniel Gorridge at the first bounce.
And down back, Carlton have their work cut out to subdue the triple Kangaroo threat of Drew Petrie, Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite.
The match-ups would worry a seasoned AFL mentor, let alone a first-year coach such as Brendon Bolton.
This week, the diminutive coach is cast in the role of David, trying to cut down North Melbourne’s Goliath.
But the Blues boss isn’t concerned, pledging to find another way around the Kangaroos’ mountain men.
“It’s not around personnel. It’s not about individual match-ups. It’s about our pressure around the ball and our system as a whole,” he said.
“That’s going to provide challenges.
“It’s one we’re looking forward to. It’ll test our system.”
Carlton can call upon the recalled Simon White and Jacob Weitering, back after a fortnight off with a shoulder complaint, to help in defence.
Bolton dismissed any suggestion his No.1 draft pick had been rushed back to help deal with the threat.
“He’s back because he’s ready,” he said.
“He’s been an absolute professional. His rehab has gone really well. He’s ready to perform.”
Gorringe’s first game for Carlton could hardly be more intimidating.
The former Gold Coast ruck is the eighth new Blue to be blooded this season, with Bolton hoping his mobility will help the 23-year-old influence the match.
North Melbourne will also unveil a new face at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Farren Ray will play for his third AFL side when he turns out for the Kangaroos, coming into the side alongside Michael Firrito and Trent Dumont.
Despite a competitive showing in his first AFL game of the season, Majak Daw has been dropped, with Mason Wood (concussion) and Ben Jacobs (foot) also watching from the sidelines.
While Jacobs’ foot injury may require surgery, the Kangaroos are confident he will play again this season irrespective of whether he goes under the knife.