ST KILDA star Jade Gresham will return from a back injury on Thursday night, as the club ramps up its preparations for round one in the opening AAMI Community Series clash against Carlton.

Gresham has been absent since August last year and sat out the club's emphatic practice match victory over North Melbourne last Thursday, but returns at Marvel Stadium to press his claim for a round one spot.

The Saints have elected to name seven new faces for the clash with the Blues, with key forward Shaun McKernan selected for his first official hitout in his new colours following 87 games for the Crows and the Bombers.

>> Check out the full teams here or scroll below

He joins fellow off-season recruits James Frawley, Jack Higgins, Paul Hunter, Brad Crouch, Mason Wood and Tom Highmore in earning selection, with the other six playing in last week's behind-closed-doors win over the Kangaroos.

Veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder won't play, having performed strongly at Arden Street last week, while veteran defender Jake Carlisle is still absent heading into the side's round one clash with the Giants.

Carlton has no new faces from the 27-man squad that defeated Essendon last Thursday, with youngster Liam Stocker's omission the only change from the side that featured at Ikon Park.

It means that attacking threats Mitch McGovern (hamstring), Levi Casboult (knee) and Eddie Betts (calf) are all still sidelined through injury, throwing their chances of a round one appearance into question.

The Blues had hoped the important trio would return for limited game time on Thursday night, but all three will now head into the season-opener against the Tigers without having enjoyed an official hitout this pre-season.

>> Check out the full teams here or scroll below

Key forward Harry McKay has been selected, despite fears over a rolled ankle sustained last week, with Zac Williams, Adam Saad and Lachie Fogarty to also take to the field for their new team.

Train-on duo Callum Moore and Oscar McDonald have again been selected, with both vying for the final spot on the club's list ahead of the pre-season Supplemental Selection Period deadline on March 9.

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Carlton begins its 2021 season with a blockbuster clash against Richmond at the MCG on March 18, while St Kilda opens its campaign with a road trip against Greater Western Sydney on March 21.

Thursday, March 4

Carlton v St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, 7.10pm AEDT


B: S.Docherty 15 J.Weitering 23 L.Plowman 20
HB: Z.Williams 6 L.Jones 14 A.Saad 42
C: E.Curnow 35 P.Cripps 9 W.Setterfield 43
HF: J.Martin 21 O.McDonald 39 L.Fogarty 8
F: M.Murphy 3 H.McKay 10 Z.Fisher 25
Foll: M.Pittonet 27 P.Dow 2 S.Walsh 18
I/C: S.Petrevski-Seton 5 J.Newnes 32 J.Silvagni 1 T.Williamson 31 L.O'Brien 4 C.Moore 45 M.Gibbons 40 D.Cuningham 28  

Emerg: L.Stocker 13 M.Owies 44 M.Kennedy 7 L.Parks 26 


B: N.Coffield 1 D.Howard 20 J.Frawley 24
HB: H.Clark 11 C.Wilkie 44 J.Webster 29
C: J.Billings 15 J.Gresham 4 B.Hill 8
HF: J.Higgins 22 J.Battle 26 D.Butler 16
F: T.Membrey 28 M.King 12 S.McKernan 27
Foll: P.Hunter 41 J.Steele 9 J.Sinclair 35
I/C: B.Long 21 B.Crouch 5 S.Ross 6 J.Lonie 13 T.Highmore 34 D.McKenzie 36 J.Bytel 23 M.Wood 32  

Emerg: L.Dunstan 7 J.Carlisle 2 D.Joyce 39 D.Kent 25