With the minor premiership wrapped up, Queanbeyan Tigers co-coach Adrian Pavese has some unexpected problems to solve over the coming few days.
The Tigers have just one game left in the regular season before a competition-wide bye and the finals the following week.
It's a unique three-week period that teams have not had to navigate in the past and Pavese has spent plenty of time considering how to chart a path forward.
With a host of players missing time through injuries in recent weeks, match fitness was crucial for some. Others required a rest, and Pavese was pleased he was in a position to provide it.
But the Tigers have a premiership to win and the coaching staff were determined to ensure they don't lose any momentum before the finals kick off next month.
"That's the big challenge, isn't it?" Pavese said.
"Because we've had so many players in and out, we lack that cohesion. So do we need to be resting guys? Absolutely, some guys have had to play more game time than they've needed to.
"We've played a lot of younger guys who come into senior footy and their bodies aren't in tune with it. Then we've got old boys who have played more minutes than they should have - we've got to look after them.
"It's a balance, we're in uncharted territory in terms of the pre-finals bye but I think everyone in the competition will enjoy it."
Queanbeyan took care of business against Eastlake on Saturday, securing a 20.12 (132) to 10.1 (61) victory.
While the Demons fought hard throughout the contest, the Tigers were a class above.
The most pleasing aspect of the win for Pavese was the absence of any injuries so close to the finals.
The coach has used more than 40 players in what he described as one of the hardest seasons he's been involved in.
"It's been much tougher than previous years," Pavese said.
"I think I can speak for my fellow coaches and the league in general in saying that.
"Last year the players played, they put a mask on and went home. With the change in rules this year, it certainly hasn't helped.
"We've also had the super flu, it's been a lot harder to manage. We had five players out today, which was the lowest number we've had this year. That's pleasing, but it's still not good."
The competition was celebrating R U OK? day this weekend, Queanbeyan players wearing yellow armbands to raise awareness for mental health.
A high priority is placed on mental health at the club, the Tigers offering numerous support services to their players.
Given the impact mental illnesses have had on society in recent years, Pavese said football clubs could play a vital role in helping individuals overcome personal battles.
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"It's a very important subject, in terms of making sure mental health is at the forefront for everybody," Pavese said.
"You can't get a better place than a footy club, in terms of both men and women.
"It's not weak to speak. Footy clubs are very important in terms of if you are struggling, we've got mechanisms to help you.
"At Queanbeyan we've got a wellbeing officer, we've had a chaplain for many years. I like to think we're doing well supporting our teams."
Men's first grade: Round 14: Queanbeyan 20.12 (132) bt Eastlake 10.1 (61); Belconnen 17.18 (120) bt Tuggeranong Valley 8.9 (57); Ainslie 23.18 (156) bt Gungahlin 5.7 (37).
Women's first grade: Round 14: Queanbeyan 6.12 (48) bt Eastlake 1.3 (9); Ainslie 17.15 (117) bt Gungahlin 0.1 (1). Thursday night: Belconnen 8.4 (52) bt Tuggeranong Valley 2.6 (18).
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