Determined Panthers post gutsy win over Brothers
AUSSIE RULES: When Tom Kneen took over as Panthers A-grade coach last year, he was determined to blood young talent.
A year on and his ambitious strategy is reaping rewards, with the Panthers back in the winner's circle again at the weekend after scoring a gutsy 33-point victory over Brothers.
The team won just two games in 2016. Four weeks into season 2017 and they have already registered three wins.
"We have a very young side - there's two 15-year-olds, two-16-year olds, a 17-year-old and after that 18 and 19-year-olds mostly, and a couple of 30-year-olds in there for a bit of wisdom,” Kneen said.
"We're just looking at developing our players at the moment and working towards that.
"I think it's starting to pay off and that's the feeling around the group as well.”
Panthers and Brothers were pretty evenly matched for three quarters of Saturday's contest at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground before the home side kicked away in the final quarter to score a 11.14-86 to 7.11-53 win.
Kneen said attitude was the key to his team's win.
"The boys were up and about and they were positive and when you're positive it's easier to run so they just kept running,” he said.
"The young fellas showed really good character and determination to grind out the last quarter.
"It was a good contest between both teams... but Brothers always looked like they could jump back and try and steal it off us.”
Jaxson Pringle was among the Panthers' best, solid in the middle before moving up forward and kicking one of his team's 12 goals.
Calvin Hockley was on target, kicking five majors, while Travis Applewaite kicked two.
Kneen also praised Keegan Thomas's determination and attack on the football and Levi Davenport, who worked tirelessly all game.
He said there was a real energy and enthusiasm within the group.
"Each week we're building and the boys are positive, which is the main thing and they're eager to learn, we're getting good numbers at training,” he said.
The Panthers' next opponents are the powerhouse Yeppoon Swans, who recorded a 145-point win against Gladstone on Saturday.
"We want to get in there and compete and contest with them as much as we can, but they've set the benchmark quite high,” Kneen said.
"It should be interesting to see where we're at.
"It's just going to be contest by contest, seeing if we can match and win the footy around the contested ball and then once we have the ball just seeing how long we can hold onto it for and setting up as many opportunities to score as we can.”
ROUND 4 RESULTS
Yeppoon 4.3, 10.8, 19.12, 27.16 (178) d Gladstone 1.1, 1.1, 4.1, 5.3 (33)
Panthers 2.4, 5.8, 8.11, 12.14 (86) d Brothers 3.1, 4.4, 6.8, 7.11 (53)
BITS 5.1, 7.1, 10.2, 10.5 (65) d Glenmore 1.1, 2.4, 4.4, 7.6 (48)