Betts has also been a significant mentor to new recruit Jack Martin, who was close to Carlton’s best player in the loss to Richmond in the opening game of the season.
While the inclusion of Betts may be the bigger talking point, the inclusion of McKay will be met with significant enthusiasm from the Carlton faithful.
Given the long-term injury to Charlie Curnow – who looks destined to sit out the entirety of 2020 – and the misfiring Mitch McGovern, McKay will provide a tall target inside 50 alongside the much improved Levi Casboult.
McKay kicked 26 goals in his 20 games for the Blues last year, having been held goalless on only four occasions.
The club will be hoping the inclusion of McKay allows McGovern – who coach David Teague has defended staunchly – to continue to roam up the ground in a position that he played successfully for Adelaide.
Betts may not be the only debutant for the Blues, with former Hawthorn ruckman Marc Pittonet firming to come up against dual All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn.
Pittonet, who was traded to the club at the end of last year, looks set to replace Matthew Kreuzer, who injured himself in round one.
Hyped youngster Tom De Koning is also out injured, meaning the only way Pittonet wouldn’t be selected is if Teague decided to take Casboult out of the forward line and play him as a permanent ruckman; a decision that appears unlikely.
Defender Nic Newman has recovered from an elbow injury and should play, while the news isn’t so good for midfielder Zac Fisher, who will almost certainly miss with syndesmosis injury to his ankle.