CARLTON draftee Sam Petrevski-Seton is set to make his return from a quad injury this week as the Blues weigh up whether to unveil their prized youngster in Thursday night's season opener.
In further good news for the Blues, coach Brendon Bolton confirmed star midfielder Patrick Cripps will line up against Richmond after a stress reaction in his lower back hampered the onballer's preseason.
Cripps lined up in Carlton's final two JLT Community Series matches.
Petrevski-Seton, who was recruited with pick No.6 in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, is finally available after missing the entire pre-season competition because of a minor strain in his left quad.
The 19-year-old suffered the injury more than five weeks ago and was put on a training program to be fit for round one, but the Blues must now make a decision on whether to unveil their top draft pick without a lead-in game.
He is more likely to be eased in through a VFL practice game against Richmond on Thursday afternoon, or the Northern Blues' development squad intra-club match on Friday.
Development and integration coach Andrew Walker, who works closely with the club's young indigenous players, said Petrevski-Seton had "put a good case forward" to play on Thursday night.
"He's put in a lot of hard work over the last four weeks with his quad to get him back and playing at the elite level," Walker said on Monday.
"We put him in a program to get him right for round one … whether he gets there or not, he's put a really good case forward.
"We said to him four weeks ago he should be aiming for round one and that's what he's done. He's put himself out there and put himself in a really good position.
"He's back fully training, he's in 100 per cent footy training, and that was the aim in the last couple of weeks leading in to round one, to have him at full peak."
Carlton will hold its main training session on Tuesday, giving Petrevski-Seton one more chance to push his claims.
Richmond has announced it will select third-year forward Dan Butler to make his debut against the Blues on Thursday night, with intrigue also surrounding rookies Mabior Chol and Jason Castagna.
The Tigers have space to upgrade both Chol and Castagna, who have impressed this pre-season, with ruckman Shaun Hampson on the long-term injury list and Chris Yarran retired.
Midfielder Shaun Grigg said Richmond's pre-season had left the club's match committee with some tough decisions ahead of Thursday night.
"Young guys got opportunities and they played well … and boys playing in the VFL have been playing well in the pre-season also," Grigg said.
"So there's a lot of competition for spots, which is really healthy."