McGrath was the number one overall selection in the 2016 AFL National Draft, and staked his claim for selection during the JLT Community Series as he impressed across half-back.
Essendon coach John Worsfold believes in the 18-year-old, and said he wanted McGrath to just go out there and enjoy his first game.
“We just want him to back himself in and believe in himself,” Worsfold said.
“Your first game is always a massive learning curve. He’s played in the JLT Series but this game will just be so exciting for him.
“We’re not expecting him to be a game breaker, we just want him to get out there and enjoy the experience.”
In more big news surrounding Saturday night, the match will mark the return of the banned Bombers after they sat out 2016 due to a season-long doping ban.
“We’re really excited about it – there has been a lot of things happening over the summer with the biggest one just being getting the group back together and also having new draftees coming through,” Worsfold said.
“Everyone is really pumped about round one and we’re all looking forward to it.”