Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley reckons the AFL's scheduling squeeze might make or break some players and clubs.
Hinkley's ladder-leaders meet a Melbourne side minus Harley Bennell, who is being rested, on Thursday night in Brisbane.
The game heralds the start of four games in 16 days for both clubs.
"There's some uncertainty about this stretch," Hinkley told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's going to happen quick ... there is going to be some real adjustments in where people sit (on the ladder) in 19 days.
"It may be season-defining. But I think the season is going to be so close and so tight."
Hinkley said the crammed fixture would gift opportunities for fringe players, given the likely need to rest some teammates.
"There might be some careers made in this period of time; there might be some people who come out of nowhere," he said.
"I don't mind looking at opportunities and, as a coaching staff, we have talked through a lot of that already. And we will certainly look to be flexible with some of our game-day stuff as well.
"We will have to mix and match a little bit but every team is going to have to through that in this next period of time."
But Hinkley said his focus remained squarely on beating the Demons, who were turning their season around with two wins and a four-point loss to premiership fancies Brisbane in their past three games.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said playing Brisbane was a blueprint in preparing for Port.
"They (Port) are a very similar side to Brisbane," Goodwin said on Wednesday.
"They are up the top of the ladder for a reason.
"They play a very contested style of footy and they lock the ball in their (forward) half really well - there is probably not one phase of the game that they are weak at.
"They play an exact same style that we like to play ... we are no under illusions of the challenge."
Port will summon veteran midfielder Tom Rockliff and defender Jarrod Lienert for the clash with the 13th-placed Demons.
Rockliff, dropped after round five, returns for the fixture in Brisbane, with halfback Jarrod Lienert recalled for his first senior game since round one.
The pair replace Todd Marshall (broken thumb) and Riley Bonner (soreness).
The Demons have also omitted Neville Jetta as well as Bennell from the team which lost to Brisbane last weekend with Tom McDonald and Tom Sparrow the two to come in.