Carlton have told debutant Levi Casboult to play on instinct when he's thrown into the fray against Western Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson in Saturday night's AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.
The struggling Blues (7-8 win-loss) have been hit hard by injury to their ruck department, as well as the crushing blow of having skipper and dual Brownlow Medallist midfielder Chris Judd suspended for four matches for last week's chicken-wing tackle on North Melbourne's Leigh Adams.
Assistant coach John Barker said on Friday the Blues hoped No.1 ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (hip) and tall defender Lachie Henderson (groin) would miss only one game.
Andrew Walker (calf) and Kane Lucas (hamstring) are also out of the side while centre half-forward Jarrad Waite returns from a back injury in the VFL this week.
Waite has been out of action since round seven.
The Blues have recalled Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton, Paul Bower and named Casboult and Tom Bell for their debuts.
"He's an exciting young player. He's a bit of a character around the club who the boys love," Barker said of Casboult, a 22-year-old ruck/forward from Dandenong Stingrays.
"In terms of preparing for this role, he has been doing some extra work with the ruck guys.
"We don't want to give him too many instructions especially given it's his first game. We want him to go out there and enjoy it and play on a little bit more instinct rather than cripple him with too much instruction."
Ruck/forward Shaun Hampson (knee) and ruckman Robbie Warnock (suspended) are also unavailable for the Blues.
Barker said 21-year-old wingman Bell was a real crowd-pleaser.
"The fans will enjoy seeing him because he loves bursting through packs and he takes no prisoners," Barker said of the Queenslander.
Barker conceded small forward Jeff Garlett, with 16 goals in 15 games, had been on the borderline of being dropped at times this season. Garlett scored 48 goals last year.
"He's not as dynamic as he has been. We're working through that with him and we're hopeful that he responds," Barker said.
The Bulldogs (5-10) regain Mark Austin, Jarrad Grant, Daniel Pearce, Patrick Veszpremi and small forward Daniel Giansiracusa, while big defender Lukas Markovic (hamstring), Clay Smith (calf) and forward Tory Dickson (groin) are out of the side because of injuries.
Carlton and the Bulldogs are coming off big losses to North Melbourne and Hawthorn respectively. The 'Dogs were outscored nine goals to one after halftime last week.