Carlton’s lesser lights are under the microscope through the pre-season, with AFL professor Mick Malthouse determined to learn what talent is at his disposal.
The three-time premiership coach will make his game-day debut for the Blues on Sunday in round one of the NAB Cup against premiers Sydney and Greater Western Sydney at Blacktown.
Former captain Chris Judd, ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, key forward Jarrad Waite and midfielder Heath Scotland are missing from the Blues squad.
But Malthouse said on Thursday those stars have nothing to prove to him.
It’s the players below the top tier at Carlton who will interest Malthouse the most through the NAB Cup.
“There’s a real big group of players that I don’t know a lot about,” Malthouse said.
“They’re the ones who are going to play through this series to see who can put their hand up in round one.”
Waite is the only captaincy candidate not playing on Sunday, with Kade Simpson, Nick Duigan, Andrew Carrazzo and Marc Murphy all in the squad.
Sydney have named a squad featuring 16 members of their premiership team.
Co-captain Adam Goodes, Rhyce Shaw, Martin Mattner, Nick Smith, Shane Mumford and Mitch Morton are the only players missing from the side that upset Hawthorn in the grand final.
Big-name recruit Kurt Tippett is under AFL suspension until the middle of the regular season.
The Giants’ team will feature defender Stephen Gilham, who was traded from the Hawks.
Hawthorn have named stars Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli for Saturday night’s match on the Gold Coast against the Suns and Brisbane.
Franklin and Rioli missed the Indigenous All Stars game earlier this month against Richmond.
Former Western Bulldogs key defender Brian Lake and ex-Sydney utility Matt Spangher will also make their debuts for the Hawks.
Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Xavier Ellis and Shaun Burgoyne were not included in the Hawks squad.
Brisbane will unveil former Melbourne players Brent Moloney and Stefan Martin, but co-captains Jonathan Brown and Jed Adcock, Simon Black and Matthew Leuenberger will not play.