The return of forgotten No.1 draft pick Matthew Kreuzer has finally arrived, with the talented Carlton ruckman to face Adelaide on Saturday.
Kreuzer hasn’t played since round one of the 2014 season due to a series of debilitating foot injuries.
The 26-year-old was recalled by the Blues on Thursday alongside fit-again stars Marc Murphy, Chris Judd, who both missed the side’s last-start loss to Sydney.
Dale Thomas was unavailable for the MCG match due to a toe injury, while Chris Yarran and Liam Jones were both dropped.
Yarran was axed for disciplinary reasons, interim coach John Barker explaining “he hasn’t got some things right around punctuality this week”.
The Crows also made three changes, recalling Rory Sloane, Brodie Smith and Kyle Hartigan at the expense of Jake Lever (ankle), Brodie Martin and Jarryd Lyons.
Essendon captain Jobe Watson (groin) and Western Bulldogs young gun Marcus Bontempelli (adductor) headlined the enforced omissions for the weekend.
The Bombers will also be without Dustin Fletcher (groin) for their crunch clash with Geelong at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The Cats made one change, adding Josh Walker in place of Mitch Clark (calf).
Jake Stringer, Stewart Crameri and debutant Toby McLean were promoted to the Bulldogs side that thumped Greater Western Sydney, with Liam Picken (hamstring) unable to face Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Power added Aaron Young to their 22 in place of Nathan Krakouer.
Undefeated Fremantle named an unchanged side for Friday night’s game against Richmond, while the Tigers dropped Liam McBean to pave the way for Ty Vickery’s return.
Gold Coast beanpole Peter Wright will debut against Sydney on Saturday, the 203cm giant benefiting from Charlie Dixon’s club-imposed suspension for drinking.
Jack Martin (hamstring) and Alex Sexton (hip) are also out for the Suns, who opted to promote Andrew Raines and Matt Shaw.
The Swans will be without small forward Ben McGlynn, who suffered a hamstring injury at training on Thursday.
“He’ll get a scan in the next day or so, he’s out for this week and probably next week as well,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
GWS co-captain Phil Davis and Brisbane playmaker Pearce Hanley will return on Sunday, when their two sides face off at Spotless Stadium.
The Lions’ wretched run with injury continued, with captain Tom Rockliff (ribs former skipper Jed Adcock (calf) and Claye Beams (knee) among five enforced omissions.
North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow, West Coast’s Elliot Yeo and fit-again Hawthorn midfielders Jordan Lewis and Will Langford were some of the key inclusions among the extended squads for Sunday’s games.
There were only two confirmed changes for the Queen’s Birthday fixture, Collingwood midfielder Taylor Adams out due to a toe injury and Rohan Bail dropped by Melbourne.