The Canberra Cavalry are "moving mountains" to keep the ABL season alive as league officials try to map out a fair playoff picture in a tournament battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cavalry are set to take on the Melbourne Aces in their fourth series this week when the two sides lock horns at Melbourne Ballpark from Thursday night.
The four game series wraps upon Sunday, by which time the Cavalry will have faced the Aces - the only team they have played against this season - in 13 games this season.
Canberra initially had no games scheduled this week, but players and coaches made a mad dash to Melbourne after the Aces' original home series scheduled against another rival was derailed by border restrictions.
The hasty nature of the arrangement means only 10 Canberra players will be available on Thursday night, with the rest of the squad to be filled by Victorian-based fill-in players.
A request to move shift the Thursday game to create a Saturday double-header was denied by the ABL. It is hoped Keith Ward will be able to call on the rest of the Cavalry to bolster the roster by Saturday at the latest.
"We've got a good squad when we're at full-strength, we know we can compete. We just want that chance when it counts, to have our full squad available," Cavalry director Dan Amodio said.
"We've got a decent record, all things considered, considering how many games we have played under full-strength. This weekend is another good example of it.
"Because of the late change to the schedule, and because of the testing requirements for some of the players, we're going into Melbourne on Thursday night with approximately 10 Cavalry players.
"The rest of the team is going to be fill-in players from Victoria. We requested the league to move it to a Friday-Saturday-Saturday-Sunday series to account for that.
"The league denied that request and requires us to play on Thursday night with a short staff. The frustrating part for the guys is they're not at full-strength, and it's no fault of our own.
"It's not like we have injuries, bad luck, it's just the nature of this uncertain and always-changing border restriction landscape.
"In the contest of the playoff conversation, the win or the loss is still going to matter on Thursday night. We get no compensation for it even though we're, to everyone's admission, under prepared."
Now the six clubs are seeking clarity over the playoff picture given the major discrepancies in games played as the final weeks of the season draw closer.
As of Wednesday, league standings have Adelaide on top after four games. Melbourne sit second having played 12, Perth have played six, Sydney two, Canberra nine, and Brisbane five.
"Either way, it's going to be a one-year experimental set-up for the playoffs," Amodio said.
"Sydney is in third place in the league right now with a .500 winning record after playing two games. What do you do with that?
"Just to get them back in the mix is everyone's top priority. Whether it's half the number of games or a quarter of the number of games, it doesn't really matter. We just want to do everything we can to keep them as a member of the league this season.
"In a year where there is such a lack of balance for reasons out of everyone's control, how do you push that together into a fair playoff system?
"For me, you give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and wherever possible, try to include as many teams as realistically possible and try to get as close as you can to a winner."
Thursday, January 14 - Melbourne Aces v Canberra Cavalry at Melbourne Ballpark, 7pm.
Friday, January 15 - Melbourne Aces v Canberra Cavalry at Melbourne Ballpark, 7pm.
Saturday, January 16 - Melbourne Aces v Canberra Cavalry at Melbourne Ballpark, 7pm.
Sunday, January 17 - Melbourne Aces v Canberra Cavalry at Melbourne Ballpark, 1pm.