A condensed AFL schedule for rounds nine to 13 looms as season defining if clubs don't get it right, according to Brisbane's Lachie Neale.
The AFL has hinted it will include four-day breaks between games in a bid to get through the coronavirus-impacted 2020 season, with clubs facing the prospect of six games in a five-week span.
With the home-and-away season already reduced to 17 rounds, Neale concedes the proposed run of games could leave teams struggling to catch up.
"It will certainly shape the season if teams don't handle that very well," the midfielder said.
Lions coach Chris Fagan has already said he hopes the schedule doesn't lead to an increase in injuries but teams have to "cop it on the chin" to keep the season going.
Neale backed the Lions' depth to come through the crucial period if that's what is necessary.
"I feel like we've got great depth here at the footy club, so guys that need to come in and play will be able to do that," he said.
"I've got full confidence in a whole heap of guys to step up and play AFL footy."
Neale said the packed fixture list isn't an impossible task for players, especially with the implementation of rule changes to the game to to take into account the unusual travel schedules teams are facing.
"We just came off a five-day break and played on Thursday night and my body's pulled up really well," Neale said.
"I think it's certainly doable, especially with the extended breaks in between goals and quarters and obviously shorter quarters as well.
"If that's what needs to happen I think we'll be ready for it."
Australian Associated Press