Melbourne is expected to make multiple changes at Thursday's selection ahead of its Friday night semi-final blockbuster against Carlton, while a Blues forward is "not ready" for the all-important bout, and a replacement for the suspended Jack Martin has been touted.
The Demons and Blues prepare to do battle at the MCG for a spot in a preliminary final against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba next weekend.
Versatile Carlton forward Jack Silvagni, who is still battling a bothersome knee concern, is "looking increasingly unlikely" to be available for the clash, according to Seven reporter Mitch Cleary on Wednesday's Talking Finals program.
"[He's] looking increasingly unlikely, [I think] he will miss selection, I think the Blues are going to go smaller, you've spoken about it earlier in the show."
Cleary added superstar captain Patrick Cripps is continuing to manage a rib complaint; he was seen at Blues training on Wednesday wearing a rib guard.
"This vision as well from Blues training today highlights what Patrick Cripps is working through, [he's] still got some rib protection, so he will play, no doubt about that, [it] just shows that the rib guard remains on for Patrick Cripps ahead of the Blues' semi-final playing for a spot in the prelim."
Additionally, the replacement for suspended utility Jack Martin is 'looming' as midfielder Matthew Kennedy, as reported on Thursday morning by AFL Media's Riley Beveridge, who ruled out the aforementioned Silvagni.
Jack Silvagni officially ruled out for the Blues, who say he is "not ready" to play senior football.
Matt Kennedy looming as a likely replacement for Jack Martin. More on @AFLcomau.
— Riley Beveridge (@RileyBev) September 13, 2023
On the other side of the ledger, Melbourne utility Adam Tomlinson, who was subject to movement rumours last week, is expected to be an inclusion for Simon Goodwin on Thursday. Veteran defender Michael Hibberd, who recently announced his AFL retirement at season's end, is expected to make way.
Cleary cited the Demons' desire to free up standout interceptor Jake Lever as part of the reason for Hibberd's probable axing.
"I know you guys spoke about Jake Lever and the role there, I think they might bring Tomlinson back for a bit of extra height to maybe free up Lever as a key defensive option."
— 7AFL (@7AFL) September 13, 2023
The Demons will also need to replace suspended forward Jacob van Rooyen.
Melbourne and Carlton will announce their selected sides for Friday's matchup on Thursday evening at 6:20 PM (AEST).