Essendon will recall physical ruckman Andrew Phillips for the AFL's traditional Anzac Day blockbuster, in a bid to quell the influence of Collingwood star Brodie Grundy.
The injury-hit Bombers have relied on former Gold Coast forward Peter Wright as their lead ruckman in recent weeks but will be able to call on reinforcements when both sides aim to secure just their second win of the year.
Phillips has proved his fitness at VFL level and will play his first senior match of the season, allowing Wright to play closer to goal at the MCG on Sunday.
Former Greater Western Sydney and Carlton big man Phillips played his debut match for Essendon in a win over Collingwood last July and earned praise from coach Ben Rutten for his work in direct opposition to Grundy.
Phillips' physical style should stand him in good stead against the two-time All-Australian, who was below his best in 2020 but has rekindled his form this season despite the Magpies' slow start to the new campaign.
"Flip did a great job last year on Brodie so we'll more than likely bring Flip back in," Rutten said on Friday.
"Pete's done a fantastic job for us over the last couple of weeks in the ruck, but we got Pete here to be a big, strong forward for us, which he's done really well.
"Flip's been in great form in the VFL and he's been training really well, so we'll bring him back into the team."
Rutten expects versatile Collingwood star Darcy Moore to likely play forward again as he contemplates how best to stop the Pies' talls without talented defender Jordan Ridley, who is unavailable because of concussion.
Collingwood will have to reshape their side after losing key duo Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe to injury.
"They've got a fair few forced changes and going on last week (Moore) will probably forward, but we're well aware that he's a pretty serious defender as well," Rutten said.
"We're preparing for both ... but we understand the calibre of player he is.
"It's certainly a different looking Collingwood outfit, but not a team that we're going to underestimate."
Up to 85,000 fans can attend the return of the Anzac Day showdown, after the Victorian government this week raised capacity limits.
The annual Collingwood-Essendon event was not played last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.