NORTH Melbourne star Daniel Wells' long-awaited comeback is on at a sweltering Wagga Wagga on Saturday, but Collingwood has left out young bull Jordan De Goey and Brent Macaffer from the NAB Challenge clash.
Wells has been confirmed for his first game in 328 days after Achilles trouble derailed his 2015 campaign.
The Roos have left out experienced defender Jamie Macmillan, plus youngsters Corey Wagner and Will Fordham.
Ruckman Todd Goldstein is in for first pre-season game, along with Nick Dal Santo, Lachie Hansen and Ben Jacobs.
Collingwood star Scott Pendlebury, Travis Cloke and Darcy Moore return for the Magpies, however De Goey, Macaffer and Tim Golds are out of the final side.
The AFL has activated its heat policy for the twilight match, reducing quarters to 22 minutes and extending breaks. Teams also have unrestricted interchange to manage their players.
The mercury was pushing 35 degrees 90 minutes before the opening bounce, with a forecast high of 38.
NORTH MELBOURNE v COLLINGWOOD
Robertson Oval (Wagga Wagga), 4.40pm AEDT, March 5
Out: Jamie Macmillan, Corey Wagner, Will Fordham
Out: Jordan De Goey, Brent Macaffer, Tim Golds
2. Brad McKenzie, 5. Ben Jacobs, 6. Lachlan Hansen, 7. Jack Ziebell, 8. Daniel Wells, 9. Andrew Swallow, 12. Lindsay Thomas, 13. Ryan Clarke, 14. Trent Dumont, 15. Nick Dal Santo, 17. Aaron Mullett, 20. Drew Petrie, 21. Luke McDonald, 22. Todd Goldstein, 25. Robbie Tarrant, 27. Taylor Garner, 28. Robin Nahas, 32. Mason Wood, 35. Aaron Black, 36. Joel Tippett, 38. Majak Daw, 39. Mitchell Hibberd, 42. Declan Mountford, 43. Sam Gibson, 44. Farren Ray, 50. Ben Brown
Notable absentees: Shaun Higgins, Brent Harvey, Ben Cunnington, Shaun Atley
1. Alex Fasolo, 4. Brodie Grundy, 8. Tom Langdon, 9. Jesse White, 10. Scott Pendlebury, 11. Jarryd Blair, 13. Taylor Adams, 14. James Aish, 15. Jarrod Witts, 17. Jonathon Marsh, 18. Travis Varcoe, 19. Levi Greenwood, 21. Tom Phillips, 25. Jack Crisp, 27. Matthew Goodyear, 28. Ben Sinclair, 30. Darcy Moore, 31. Jackson Ramsay, 32. Travis Cloke, 34. Alan Toovey, 35. Brayden Sier, 37. Brayden Maynard, 43. Adam Oxley, 44. Corey Gault, 45. Jack Frost, 46. Mason Cox
Notable absentees: Steele Sidebottom, Jamie Elliott, Dane Swan, Nathan Brown, Jordan De Goey, Brent Macaffer
Essendon's already under-strength side has lost more class and experience with David Zaharakis and Zach Merrett both withdrawn ahead of the club's NAB Challenge clash against Geelong at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton.
Defender James Gwilt has also been taken out of the Bombers' squad, with more responsibility to fall on the shoulders of Mitch Brown and Michael Hartley down back.
The Cats have welcomed back Jimmy Bartel, Tom Lonergan and Josh Caddy after the trio missed last week's matchup with Collingwood.
Rookie-listed youngsters Jock Cornell, Michael Luxford and Zac Bates went back to Geelong by bus on Friday and will not take their place in the line-up.
With temperatures expected to hit 37 degrees in Shepparton, the AFL has instituted the heat policy.
The match will have shortened 22-minute quarters, with eight-minute breaks at quarter and three-quarter time, and 25 minutes at half-time.
ESSENDON v GEELONG
Deakin Reserve (Shepparton), 2.05pm AEDT, March 5
Out: Zach Merrett, David Zaharakis, James Gwilt
Out: Jock Cornell, Michael Luxford, Zac Bates
8. Martin Gleeson, 12. Mark Baguley, 13. Orazio Fantasia, 14. Jason Ashby, 15. Courtenay Dempsey, 17. Adam Cooney, 19. Shaun Edwards, 20. Jackson Merrett, 24. Craig Bird, 25. Alex Morgan, 28. Mitch Brown, 29. Patrick Ambrose, 30. Kyle Langford, 33. Jayden Laverde, 34. Jake Long, 36. Michael Hartley, 38. Nick Kommer, 41. Will Hams, 43. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, 44. Shaun McKernan, 45. Conor McKenna, 49. Matt Dea, 52. Jonathan Simpkin, 53. Mark Jamar, 54. Sam Grimley, 56. Sam Michael
1. Rhys Stanley, 3. Jimmy Bartel, 5. Nakia Cockatoo, 6. Lincoln McCarthy, 7. Harry Taylor, 8. Jake Kolodjashnij, 9. Zac Smith, 11. Darcy Lang, 13. Tom Lonergan, 18. Josh Cowan, 21. Jordan Murdoch, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Josh Caddy, 25. Lachie Henderson, 26. Tom Hawkins, 28. Cory Gregson, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 30. Nathan Vardy, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 35. Patrick Dangerfield, 36. Tom Ruggles, 39. Shane Kersten, 40. Jackson Thurlow, 44. Corey Enright, 46. Mark Blicavs