The AFL has ruled out the possibility of expanding interchange benches in 2020, but it will encourage clubs to employ a rotation policy during the upcoming fixture squeeze.
John Longmire (Sydney), Damien Hardwick (Richmond), Chris Scott (Geelong), and Nathan Buckley (Collingwood) are among a throng of coaches who have called on the AFL to increase interchange benches.
Those calls have become even louder after the AFL announced its round 9-12 fixtures, which will see clubs playing off as little as four-day breaks.
The AFL's general manager of football operations Steve Hocking said the shorter terms and longer breaks in between quarters and goals had helped protect players to date.
And instead of increasing interchange benches during the upcoming fixture cram, the AFL is encouraging clubs to dig deep into their lists.
"We've never seen this. We've seen this in the NBA, but not in our great game," Hocking said of the fixture squeeze.
"I do think there'll be extensive management of lists. I think there will be a rotational basis that will go on. So some new faces, which is exciting.
"The other part will be recovery and then play model. We haven't seen that at all at any stage in the AFL. Seeing how that plays out - you'll have teams that will just be living in a recovery model and then just having a captain's run and be playing.
"It's an exciting phase we're about to go into - 33 games in 20 days. How clubs embrace that, how players embrace that is going to be exceptional and compelling viewing."
The AFL cut quarter lengths from 20 minutes plus time on to 16 minutes plus time on at the start of the season.
Hocking ruled out any prospect of returning to the traditional quarter length for the finals series, or any modification to bench sizes during the fixture cram.
"We haven't seen a rise in injuries," Hocking said.
"We've compared data to 2019, which is hard to do in this season, and in this point of time our view is what we've done is supporting the health and wellbeing of the players and the game overall.
"What we started with in round one is what we'll finish with.
"We've got clear evidence players are recovering well from games and so the management load of players has been good with the adjustments to the game we've made.
"There won't be any additional interchange or subs added."
Hocking described the fixturing challenge this year as a "Rubik's cube", and said he wasn't in a position to reveal any plans beyond round 12 just yet.