As many as 20,000 fans are expected to mark the return of several key Essendon players at tonight's opening JLT Community Series clash against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium.
Former captain Jobe Watson, newly-appointed skipper Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley, David Myers, Travis Colyer and Ben Howlett have all been named for their comeback games.
Essendon is set to unveil No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath, former Lions forward Josh Green and ex-Giant James Stewart.
The Magpies will kick-off a make-or-break 2017 for under-pressure coach Nathan Buckley buoyed by the return of star goalkicker Jamie Elliott from a long-term back injury.
Meanwhile, Matt Scharenberg and Jackson Ramsay are both set for comebacks from knee reconstructions.
Versatile tall Lachlan Keeffe is also in line to make his return to football 902 days since his last appearance after his two-year suspension expired on February 10.
Off-season arrivals Chris Mayne (Fremantle), Will Hoskin-Elliott (GWS), Lynden Dunn (Melbourne) and Henry Schade (Gold Coast) have been picked to make their first appearances in black and white.
Eighteen-year-old forward Josh Daicos, the son of Magpies legend Peter, is poised to debut in black and white, with Liam Mackie and Max Lynch other potential first-gamers.
Three players will be trimmed from each 29-man squad when final teams are announced ahead of the 7.40pm (AEDT) bounce. Tickets are still available.
The pre-season series will also see the introduction of several new rules and interpretations.
'Play on' should be called when the ball-carrier is taken high but is judged to have created the high contact (by ducking his head or dropping his knees), while the 'third man up' in the ruck at stoppages has been outlawed.
Umpires will also crackdown on deliberate rushed behinds.
For the opening two rounds of the JTL series the ball will be thrown up 14m out from goal after a deliberate rushed behind, rather than a free kick being awarded at the top of the goalsquare.
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