CARLTON has sprung a surprise by naming former skipper Chris Judd as substitute for his first match of the season against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening.

The champion midfielder - whose pre-season was interrupted by an Achilles injury that required surgery in the first week of February - will start his first match back in the green vest.

The 30-year-old two-time Brownlow medallist hasn't played a game at any level since last year's semi-final loss to the Sydney Swans.

Although it remains to be seen how much game-time Judd will play, he is no doubt hoping to help turn the fortunes of his club around.

Carlton has lost its first four matches of the season for the first time since 1989.