Carlton small forward Orazio Fantasia will miss the Blues' blockbuster clash against his old side Essendon this Sunday, King's Birthday Eve at the MCG.

Fantasia suffered a sprain to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his shoulder, which saw him subbed out of Carlton's electric 36-point away win over Port Adelaide last Thursday night.

He was unable to complete the club's main training session on Thursday and was subsequently omitted.

It rules him out of what shapes as the biggest meeting between these two familiar foes since the 2011 elimination final, with 90,000 expected to pack the 'G.

It also quells just a fraction of the drama associated with the battle, Fantasia being set to line-up against the side he served for seven years, now in the colours they despise more than any other, the navy Blue Carlton.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Orazio Fantasia of the Bombers in action during the 2019 AFL round 04 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Indeed, the match is already littered with parody, being the first official 'McKay-bowl' with Ben and Harry set to finally meet for the first twin-outing in their nine-year AFL careers.

Tactically, the change forces Carlton to experiment, small forwards Corey Durdin, Jesse Motlop and Lachie Fogarty have all been named on the extended bench, while Matt Owies and Zac Williams reside on the field in front-half roles.

Fogarty, fresh off a two-year contract extension, will likely be held out for another week as he recovers from a wrist sprain.

Motlop, who had just returned from a toe injury which kept him sidelined for well over a month, went straight back into the recovery room with a hamstring strain, but has since returned through the VFL and could bring some electricity to the Carlton forward line if he is named.

The likely candidate would be Durdin, who is the most seasoned of the lot with nine matches under his belt in 2024.

Coach Michael Voss may have a trick under his sleeve for when the final 23's are announced, listing these five small forwards to pick from, perhaps keeping Bomber coach Brad Scott wary of who he should name on the back pocket for this blockbuster between two likely finalists.