Hurley, 22, wrenched his ankle in the Bombers 15-goal NAB Cup thumping of young bucks Greater Western Sydney early this month but has completed a full recovery.
And Fremantle were unable to nam second ruckman Zac Clarke because of a lingering injury doubts with a twisted ankle that he suffered at training in Perth on Tuesday.
The Dockers called up veteran big all-rounder Kepler Bradley to probably back-up in the ruck as well as stints up forward.
Clarke was scheduled to be an important back-up option to new lead ruckman Jon Griffin with the latest injury setback to veteran Dockers giant ruck force Aaron Sandilands.
Apart from Sandilands sidelined for a potentially brutal derby against bitter rivals West Coast in Perth, the Dockers are approaching full strength for their season opener on Saturday night.
Veteran West Coast champion Dean Cox leads the Eagles ruck with support from emerging big man Scott Lycett in the absence of reigning All-Australian Nic Naitanui.
Confirmation that Hurley would lead Essendon's forward division is a significant boost to the Bombers after almost two months of anguish with pressures of a much publicised Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into use of possible illegal substances last year.
The big forward and crucial scoring avenue, who can also double as a key defensive power if needed, was in a moon boot for much of his recovery schedule.
Hurley was named in a strong Bombers outfit for AAMI Stadium opener to the new AFL season.
Boom recruit Brendon Goddard will make his first appearance for the Bombers since walking out on St Kilda last October and compliments a classy midfield alongside reigning Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton.
Essendon also named fourth-round draft selection Nick Kommer to make his debut.
The Crows moved to the brink of an anticipated debut for exciting new talent Brad Crouch, with the young gun named as a potential starter as an emergency.
AFL Round 1 Teams:
ADELAIDE CROWS v ESSENDON
AS, 8:10pm ACDT Friday, March 22, 2013
B: Luke Brown, Ben Rutten, Ricky Henderson
HB: Nathan van Berlo, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Bernie Vince, Patrick Dangerfield, David Mackay
HF: Richard Douglas, Josh Jenkins, Jared Petrenko
F: Jason Porplyzia, Taylor Walker, Matthew Wright
FOLL: Sam Jacobs, Scott Thompson, Rory Sloane,
INT: Matthew Jaensch, Graham Johncock, Brodie Martin, Andy Otten
EMER: Brad Couch, Shaun McKernan, Aidan Riley
B: Mark Baguley, Cale Hooker, Michael Hibberd
HB: Brendon Goddard, Dustin Fletcher, Jake Carlisle
C: Courtenay Dempsey, Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell
HF: David Zaharakis, Patrick Ryder, Stewart Crameri
F: Alwyn Davey, Michael Hurley, Nick Kommer
FOLL: Tom Bellchambers, Brent Stanton, Ben Howlett
INT: Heath Hocking, David Myers, Jake Melksham, Jackson Merrett
EMER: Leroy Jetta, Kyle Hardingham, Elliott Kavanagh
FREMANTLE v WEST COAST
PS, 4:40pm AWST, Saturday, March 23, 2013
B: Kepler Bradley, Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson
HB: Paul Duffield, Luke McPharlin, Nick Suban
C: Danyle Pearce, Michael Barlow, Clancee Pearce
HF: Ryan Crowley, Matthew Pavlich, Nat Fyfe
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Chris Mayne, Michael Walters
FOLL: Jon Griffin, David Mundy, Stephen Hill
INT: Matt De Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Lee Spurr, Cameron Sutcliffe
EMER: Jesse Crichton, Jack Hannath, Lachie Neale
B: Will Schofield, Darren Glass, Ash Smith
HB: Shannon Hurn, Eric Mackenzie, Beau Waters
C: Andrew Gaff, Scott Selwood, Andrew Embley
HF: Josh Hill, Jack Darling, Chris Masten
F: Scott Lycett, Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras
FOLL: Dean Cox, Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey
INT: Adam Selwood, Ashton Hams, Jamie Cripps, Brad Sheppard
EMER: Jacob Brennan, Mitch Brown, Bradd Dalziell