The AFL’s New Zealand Anzac Day game has taken another hit, with Chris Judd pulling out because of back tightness.
The Carlton star surprised teammates by not flying across on Thursday morning, his absence meaning the clash would not have its two biggest drawcards.
St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt was already ruled out for a second week because of a calf muscle injury.
The Blues said they did not want to risk Judd, given the travel and a six-day turnaround before the big round-five clash with Collingwood at the MCG.
Malthouse will coach his 715th AFL game against the Magpies, officially breaking the league record.
Judd is 31 and only managed 12 senior games last season because of hamstring and achilles tendon injuries.
“I didn’t actually know until I was on the plane,” Blues teammate Cameron Wood said.
“We were (flying) over the ocean and someone said Juddy’s not on the plane.
“Obviously, it will be a big loss.”
Speaking at Melbourne airport on Thursday morning, Saints coach Alan Richardson said he had heard rumours Judd might be in doubt.
“That would be a good outcome … he’s been in pretty good nick,” Richardson said.
“They’ve been great around stoppages and he’s been part of the reason.”
This will be the third edition of the AFL’s NZ Anzac Day experiment.
Promotion of this game had already been a challenge, given the form of the two teams.
Carlton are in crisis after three-straight losses and the pressure is growing on Malthouse.
Top Blues officials have publicly conceded the team is now rebuilding.
The Saints started the season as popular favourites for the wooden spoon.
While they scored an impressive upset win over Gold Coast in round two, Collingwood easily beat them last Friday night.
Carlton have promoted Blaine Boekhorst for his AFL debut, while Dylan Buckley and Jason Tutt return.
Chris Yarran starts his three-game striking suspension and Ciaran Byrne has a hamstring injury.
Yarran travelled with the team, two days after the tribunal decided on his penalty for punching Essendon’s Paul Chapman.
“That’s just a bit of being around the team and lending some support,” Wood said.
“He’s definitely still part of the team.
“He has a lot of things he can pass on … there are a few younger players in the squad.”
St Kilda have recalled Tom Curren for Maverick Weller, who has a calf muscle injury.