CARLTON will rest skipper Chris Judd for Sunday's game against Greater Western Sydney, with key forward Jarrad Waite also a chance to miss the game against the AFL's 18th club.
The Blues, who will confirm their team today at match committee, have long planned to give their champion skipper a rest during the season in order to keep him fresh and allow his body to recover.
A number of Carlton players pulled up sore from the game against Fremantle in Perth, but are understood to be keen to take on the fledgling Giants at Etihad Stadium and maintain their form and momentum.
Carlton skipper Chris Judd. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
It is only older players, such as Judd and Waite, who come into the frame for a week off against the Giants, with the rest of Carlton's elite players expected to play, including Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Kreuzer and Michael Jamison.
Waite, 29, has had a number of injuries in recent years and the Blues are mindful of both his structural importance as the club's premier tall forward and of the need to protect his sometimes fragile body.
Jamison, far from needing to rest his body, needs further matches to condition himself better, having missed the NAB Cup and the season's opening two rounds.
The Blues' Jarrad Waite. Photo: Paul Rovere
Kade Simpson is among the older Blues, but is scheduled to play his 150th consecutive game for Carlton and has been in outstanding touch.
Simpson already holds the record for a games streak by a Carlton player, having not missed since round 15, 2005, though club great Bruce Doull would have played 160 consecutively if he had not been compelled to play state football in 1976.
Ruckman Robbie Warnock has played two games in the VFL and will be pushing for selection soon.
Judd, 28, has played 93 of a possible 97 games since he crossed from West Coast to join Carlton at the end of 2007. He was among seven Blues to play all 24 games for the club last year. Murphy, Simpson, Heath Scotland, Jeff Garlett, Eddie Betts and Andrew Walker also played every game in 2011.
The trend of resting players has become more pronounced in a response to the heavy toll the game exacts on players' bodies.
Many clubs target games against the new expansion teams as opportune times to give key older players a week off, albeit the Blues will otherwise pick a very strong side and will emphasise that they need to maintain their intensity against the youthful Giants.
Geelong took the practice of resting veterans to unprecedented levels in last year's premiership season. The Cats did not have a single player who played each of their 25 matches, in what has set a template for the better teams.