Carlton young gun Patrick Cripps will be the notable absentee as they unveil their AFL future this Sunday at Ikon Park.
All Carlton’s draftees from last November, including No.1 pick Jacob Weitering and father-son selection Jack Silvagni, are in their squad for the NAB Challenge match against Essendon.
Only No.12 selection Charlie Curnow featured in last week’s loss to Hawthorn.
Curnow, Harry McKay and David Cunningham are all expected to play against the Bombers.
But Cripps, last year’s club best-and-fairest winner, and captain Marc Murphy are yet to play in the pre-season.
Cripps is nursing a bruised knee after a training collision and the Blues are confident Murphy is on track to play in their third pre-season game on March 11 against Sydney.
Curiosity over how Essendon will perform this season, given their doping suspensions and the fierce rivalry with Carlton, makes this clash the highlight of the weekend’s four NAB Challenge matches.
It will be the first time the Blues have hosted Essendon at their Princes Park home since 1992.
Essendon will play three or four of their 10 top-ups, recruited in the wake of losing 12 players to doping bans.
Ryan Crowley, Sam Grimley, Jonathan Simpkin and the Dons’ final recruit Sam Michael were included.
No.5 draft pick Darcy Parish is also in their squad.
Port Adelaide and Richmond have loaded up with big names for their weekend matches.
Captain Travis Boak, Ollie Wines, Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard are back for Sunday’s home match against Melbourne in Elizabeth.
The Demons have also named a strong line-up that features Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw and Tom McDonald.
But Melbourne captain Nathan Jones will not play again because of a sore knee.
The Tigers recalled skipper Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt, Alex Rance and Shane Edwards for Saturday’s game in Beaconsfield against Hawthorn.
The Hawks rested several players, including captain Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell, while Cyril Rioli and Shaun Burgoyne will play.
Fremantle have named another strong team for Sunday’s home match in Mount Barker against Adelaide, with captain Matthew Pavlich and Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe to play.
Adelaide’s Rory Sloane and recruit Troy Menzel will have their first runs for the pre-season, but Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts are among the Crows to sit out the match.