MELBOURNE won't be resting players en masse, or even at all, despite the significant challenges the Demons face with arguably the toughest compressed fixture of any club ahead.
Starting with Sunday's acid test against high-flying Brisbane at Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium, Melbourne will play five matches in 20 days in three different states.
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There are two four-day breaks in that time but coach Simon Goodwin said the plan was to field the best side possible in each of those games.
That philosophy includes recruit Harley Bennell, who has suffered repeat calf injuries in past years but is thriving after dual surgeries and under his new club's fitness guru Darren Burgess.
Bennell will be assessed on a weekly basis rather than specific matches being circled for him to miss, Goodwin said.
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"Our plan is not to rest anyone – our plan will be to pick the best team," Goodwin told reporters.
"Now, we certainly won't be reckless with that. If players are sore and unavailable, then they won't play. But, our plan is to play the best team available.
"We think we've prepared our players to handle the loads that are going to be presented to them and we're certainly not going to be a club that's going to be in the process of resting players."
Goodwin said Burgess' program during the COVID-19-enforced season shutdown prepared the Demons' footballers for the potential of four-day breaks, which are now a reality.
They have one of the healthiest playing lists in the competition, with Aaron vandenBerg – who underwent surgery on his fractured cheekbone on Tuesday – the only first-choice option unavailable.
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vandenBerg's role, which has predominantly been on the wing in the past fortnight, is set to be filled by one of Tom McDonald or ex-Giant Adam Tomlinson.
McDonald is available for selection after missing last week's game with a scratched eyeball.
Last year's No.3 draft pick Luke Jackson performed admirably in McDonald's absence against Hawthorn, forming a good combination with Sam Weideman in a remodelled Melbourne attack.
Goodwin didn't guarantee McDonald's return earlier in the week and said on Thursday they would debate the merits of him playing as a wingman.
"He can do that role for us and has done in the past but we want to make sure we pick the right balance to our team as well," Goodwin said.
"But it's certainly something we will discuss."
The second-placed Lions beat the Demons by 33 points in their corresponding clash last year, enjoying major buffers in clearances (43-29), centre clearances (20-6) and contested possessions (159-132).
"The Brisbane Lions are an outstanding footy club and they've shown that over the last two years," Goodwin said.
"I learned a lot from last year but I haven't looked back at that game. Different personnel, different way of playing – I think we've got better method to the way we're playing now.
"There's no doubt they got us in that phase of the game last year and it's something we certainly remember but we certainly want to back ourselves in as well and make sure we get on top in (those) areas."