Richmond recalled ruckman Ivan Maric at the expense of Ty Vickery, while Essendon promoted two AFL veterans for the Dreamtime at the ‘G clash.
As all the potential causes of Richmond’s early-season AFL woes were bandied about, it was hard to dismiss the absence of key personnel.
Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric and Alex Rance were all clearly missed, with coach Damien Hardwick and other key figures at the Tigers admitting depth was an issue.
Deledio and Rance, both injured for rounds three to six, have brought about much improvement since returning.
Maric, sidelined since undergoing ankle surgery in February, is set to play in Saturday night’s Dreamtime at the `G clash with Essendon.
Hardwick is hoping the Tigers, 13th on the ladder after a 3-6 start to the season, will finally start resembling the side that was one victory away from making the top four in 2013.
“With Ivan probably being the last of the big names to come back in, we’re excited by that,” he said on Thursday.
“It’s getting better every week.
“The consistency of performance, hopefully we’re starting to get (it).”
Hardwick promoted cult hero Maric at the expense of Ty Vickery, as the Tigers seek to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Reigning Richmond best-and-fairest winner Dan Jackson was named despite being restricted to light duties at training on Thursday due to a leg injury.
The Bombers recalled Ben Howlett along with veterans Paul Chapman and Jason Winderlich, with Jackson Merrett (hand), Joe Daniher (omitted) and Kurt Aylett (omitted) making way.
Collingwood midfielder Luke Ball (calf), Hawthorn ruckman Ben McEvoy (corked hamstring) and Port Adelaide veteran Dom Cassisi (knee) were among the surprise omissions in the teams named on Thursday.
The Magpies were forced to make two changes for Friday night’s game against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, Lachlan Keeffe and Taylor Adams returning for Ball and Nathan Brown (shoulder).
The Saints promoted Brodie Murdoch and Sebastian Ross in place of Jimmy Webster (omitted) and Blake Acres (ankle).
The table-topping Power will tackle Melbourne on Saturday minus Cassisi, Angus Monfries (ankle) and Hamish Hartlett (suspended).
The Demons called on Neville Jetta and James Frawley for the inaugural regular-season match in Alice Springs, with Jimmy Toumpas dropped and Chris Dawes serving a one-match ban.
The returns of Tom Rockliff, Joel Patfull and Matt Maguire headlined six changes made by Brisbane for Saturday’s home clash with Carlton.
The Blues named Andrew Carrazzo and Mitch Robinson as replacements for Andrew Walker (knee) and Dennis Armfield (calf).
In Sunday’s extended squads, Fremantle’s Matt de Boer (knee), Gold Coast on-baller Harley Bennell (calf) and McEvoy were among the omissions.
Key defender Luke McPharlin will return from injury for the Dockers when they take on Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Former Melbourne midfielder Colin Sylvia is in line to play his first game for Fremantle.