Coleambally's former league medallist Dean Pound will play his first game in close to two years when the Blues host The Rock-Yerong Creek on Saturday.
Pound sat last season out after leg and shoulder injuries cruelled 2016 and 2017, restricting him to 10 games in two seasons.
A runaway Clear medallist as ruckman in 2014, Pound was dangerous up forward for the Blues in 2015 but will start at centre-half-back for the Blues. His return is complemented by that of fellow defenders Tom Morton (who'll get the job on Magpies forward Andy Carey), Todd Clark and Jess Spencer while Adrian McAdam and Sam Breed also come in after last week's humbling 134-point loss to East Wagga-Kooringal.
"We didn't dwell on it too much," co-coach Mitch Carroll said. "We obviously got outplayed but we didn't play very smart and our skill level was poor. We got our share of the ball but turned it over too easily and we went away from the way we wanted to play, just bombing it long when we want to play a shorter game through the middle."
The Blues lose Graham O'Connell (calf) and Mitch Dunbar (hamstring) while Chris Hayes and Brayden Scarr are unavailable. But Carroll said he's hopeful of seeing a keen improvement for their first home game of the season, drawing on some of the positives of last week.
"Raven (Marika), it was our first look at him and he was lively, he gets the ball and uses it well, and Joel Crowhurst played pretty well on ball," he said.
"It was probably a bit hard, a few guys are unknown to each other and the Darwin boys only arrived on the Thursday night. Not that we're making excuses but it might take us a while to settle."
He also confirmed NT signing Jackie Brown won't be joining the club but Adrian McAdam will get a shot at first grade this week alongside brother Charlie as well as Marika.
The Blues aren't too sure what to expect from The Rock-Yerong Creek, against whom they enjoyed their sole win last season.
"It's always good contests," Carroll said. "They've got a few changes with their players too and I don't know a lot of them.... they've usually got a pretty handy on-ball brigade with Yates and Pieper but if we can win that battle and get it up quickly to Dwayne (Weetra, at full-forward) we'll be alright.
"You're always keen for your first home game and hopefully our first win to get the ball rolling and move on from the disappointment of last week.
"Having next week off (for Easter) will be a good thing too. We can reassess after two games and look at where we're at."