Essendon has dropped 22-year veteran Dustin Fletcher for Saturday night’s game against Port Adelaide, but left the door open for his late inclusion.
The defender was left out out of the side along with the injured Michael Hibberd (ankle), though coach Mark Thompson said on a club website video that Fletcher was “at this stage one of the emergencies.”
Mark Baguley was named after missing last week’s loss to Geelong with a back problem, while Jason Winderlich will return after serving a one-match suspension.
Fletcher has played 390 games for the Bombers since debuting in 1993, and earlier this year overtook Simon Madden as the club's games record holder.
"It's a big game, it's an important game but I think we can play really well and I'm confident that we can be really competive. We're going over there to try and win," Thompson said.