Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan has called on the AFL to expand interchange benches to help alleviate the injury risk to players during the compromised 2020 season.
Fagan fears injury rates could increase on the back of disjointed and shortened preparations for the June 11 restart, with players only allowed back in full training from May 25.
The AFL is considering allowing clubs to operate with six-man benches – up from the regular four – and unlimited interchange rotations.
“Given the short preparation time, to have six players on your bench would be beneficial,” Fagan told reporters on Friday.
“How you choose to use them will obviously be up to each club, but it might help save your list a little bit because we are all a little bit concerned that injury rates may well go up.
“Fingers crossed they don’t but there’s a chance that they will, so having those extra couple there would be (helpful).
“It also helps you to manage the load of each player a little bit more.”
Clubs have just 2-1/2 weeks to prepare at full tilt for the season restart and will have as little as four full-contact sessions in that time.
Fagan is unsure if that will be enough to fully prepare players for competitive matches but welcomed the fact all teams were on a level playing field.
“It’s not like anyone’s going to get an advantage,” Fagan said.
“If we’re all underdone, we’re all underdone – but our players have continued to work really hard during their break.
“I think with a few weeks of training under our belt we’ll be able to put a pretty decent product out on the field.”
Fagan said one of his most pressing tasks would be to relay information from the AFL around protocols for training and player behaviour before the season restart.
“There will be a lot of education so that our guys are really clear about what they can and can’t do,” Fagan said.
“That’s the major task of next week, making everybody feel comfortable with the way we have to live, probably for the rest of the season.”