Carey Park’s new coach Brett Maguire says a fit and firing midfield group is ready to propel the club forward in 2021. The Panthers missed the finals in 2020 before Maguire took over the top job in the summer after a stint as an assistant at Busselton, bringing his son Ethan, who will join stalwart Rory O’Brien in the midfield. Maguire said the new man on the mark rule will mean fewer stoppages and more gut running for his players, but feels his midfield group is up for the challenge. “We have a scratch match this weekend so this will be the first time I get to see Rory, but talking to him, he is working with Peel this year so he is doing their running and he is down there training with them,” he said. “The feedback is that he is keen, he is fitter, so I am looking forward to how our midfield looks this year. “We will have Rory, Ethan and Holmesy (Aaron Holmes) and a couple of others who are all fit enough to be running through there and then it is about trying to develop some of the younger guys in there as well. “Speaking to Rory he is pretty keen and interested to see how they all work through the middle, so we are looking forward to that part of our game.” Last season the Panthers used a combination of Zane Verhaaf and the more mobile Bill Brown in the ruck, but Maguire says the demands on ruckmen might be different this year. “With the rule changes it will be interesting to see if you do need that big lumbering ruckman or if we go the more mobile ruckman,” he said. “There might be a few less stoppages and more of an open running game this season and that is certainly what we are planning on, so it will be interesting to see how that works with the rucks.” The AFL’s opening round was the first showcase of the new rules which will also be implemented in the SWFL and across the nine Round 1 games, the average number of stoppages was 49, down from the five year average of 63. “Zane has had a massive pre-season, I think he is ready, he is still only 22 but he is primed for a pretty good season,” he said. “Bill Brown has had an interrupted pre-season so it will just depend on Bill, but the plans are to run that sort of combination.” The Panthers open their season with a trip to Harvey on April 10.