Wayne Harle, Darrel Dunnett and Tom Kneen are planning on making Panthers the top football team in the 2010 AFL competition.
Wayne Harle, Darrel Dunnett and Tom Kneen are planning on making Panthers the top football team in the 2010 AFL competition. MEGAN LEWIS Ml

Panthers on the prowl for pace

YES! There is life after Wayne Ling.

That is the message from Panthers as the club prepares for the 2010 AFL Capricornia season without mentor Wayne Ling who has left the area.

Panthers have not turned to a newcomer to guide them to a premiership flag.

Darrel Dunnett is the man the club is looking to as it searches for a return to the winning formula of 2007.

Not that Panthers are in any trouble having made the grand final in 2008 and the final four last year.

Dunnett has been with Panthers for the long term during which time he has coached and led the club as its president.

Now he, and his senior coaching team, aim to put Panthers back on top and they aim to do it with the young players the club has been growing over the years.

“We have lost a couple of senior players but we have some good young guys coming through,” Dunnett said.

“In the last round against Yeppoon we had 11 of the senior players out.”

It was that performance against Yeppoon that convinced Dunnett there is quality within the ranks of the club without searching for out-of-town footballers.

“A lot of people think we don’t have juniors but we have a lot coming through,” he added.

Last season Clint Ennis travelled to Rockhampton for matches and rarely trained with his team mates. This move was not successful as he failed to blend into the squad and his fitness level was far below what he had offered as a member of the club’s premiership winning team.

Big Adam Kaufman is still part of the plans for the incoming Panthers management with quick young players expected to get the ball into his hands when he’s in handy kicking positions.

“Adam promises to have a big year,” Dunnett confirmed.

Kaufman should not be alone as Dunnett is also expecting big things from Matt Schumacher and Matt Ryan.

“Matt Schumacher is a big improver and Matt Ryan keeps getting better each year,” he said.

Dunnett was impressed by the way the 2009 premier, Yeppoon Swans, went about their game.

“They didn’t complicate it too much and ran hard at the footy,” he observed.

While the Panthers coach sees Yeppoon as one of the teams to beat again, he does not see any club as being an easybeat.

Taking over as the Reserve grade coach is the well-travelled Wayne Harle.

Before moving to Central Queensland, Harle had extensive experience in the sport coaching in Victoria and New South Wales and has worked in all levels of the game.

Last year he had a coaching role at Glenmore but has now accepted the challenge of developing youngsters and preparing them for the senior side.

“I’ll be a bit of an unknown quality, the players don’t know what I think and where I’m coming from,” he said.

Describing himself as a “new age coach”, Harle aims to dovetail his ideas with those of Dunnett to develop a Panthers style of football.

There was criticism of Panthers’ fitness last year with the premier side not competitive in all four quarters of every match.

Tom Kneen was one player who always gave 100% and now he will be trying to extract a similar output from squad members in his role of fitness trainer.

“I want to mix it up and keep it interesting,” he said.

Among the areas Kneen will work is improving players speed off the mark and pace when changing direction.

Panthers will begin training on January 12.



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