CLUBS will have added flexibility for the upcoming 'Festival of Footy', with the AFL reclassifying players eligibility for the long-term injury list.
Wednesday night's game between Richmond and the Western Bulldogs is the first of 33 games across 20 straight days of AFL football as the League races to stay ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that in mind, it's understood the AFL has informed all 18 clubs that they will be able to place footballers on the LTI for six rounds rather than the usual six weeks.
Those players can't compete for the minimum duration of their LTI stay.
This tweak is important, because the next four rounds of the fixture will be stuffed between July 29 and August 17.
How teams handle situations such as back-to-back four-day breaks between matches will vary from club to club – but it's accepted not all players will be able to appear in all games in that period.
The rule change means sides will be able to promote Category B rookie-listed players in place of teammates who are moved onto the LTI.
Sydney already promoted Sam Wicks and Irishman Barry O'Connor this week as cover for Sam Naismith (knee) and Isaac Heeney (ankle), who are out for the rest of the season.
However, players who may be out for only a month could now be placed on the LTI rather than clubs relying on a longer-term setback.
This could suit clubs like Geelong with Jordan Clark (shoulder) and Luke Dahlhaus (foot), and Port Adelaide with Todd Marshall (thumb) and Steven Motlop (ankle).
Hawthorn has promoted Changkuoth Jiath to the primary list for Ricky Henderson, who sustained a meniscus tear against Melbourne and subsequently returned to Victoria to complete his rehabilitation.
Your club's Category B players
Brisbane: Matt Eagles, Tom Fullarton, James Madden
Carlton: Matthew Owies
Collingwood: Jack Madgen, Anton Tohill, Tom Wilson
Essendon: Tom Hird*, Ross McQuillan, Cian McBride
Fremantle: Isaiah Butters, Jason Carter, Leno Thomas
Geelong: Stefan Okunbor, Blake Schlensog
Gold Coast: Luke Towey, Patrick Murtagh
GWS Giants: Callum Brown, Jack Buckley
Hawthorn: Changkuoth Jiath, Harry Pepper
Melbourne: Austin Bradtke
North Melbourne: Matt McGuinness
Port Adelaide: Martin Frederick
St Kilda: Sam Alabakis
Sydney: Barry O'Connor, Sam Wicks
West Coast: None
Western Bulldogs: Buku Khamis
* Out with a long-term injury
** Some of these players have already been promoted