Can Panthers Go The Next Step?

Carey Park fell agonisingly short of a fairytale Grand Final victory at Payne Park last season, in one of the great grand finals when they fell just short against Busselton in a match decided by less than a goal.

Under new coach Frank Italiano, experts had the Panthers entrenched in bottom three on the ladder, something was proven to be wrong from the very first match of the season.  Having previously finished no higher than sixth in the previous six seasons and having come off finishing eighth in 2022, Carey Park were definitely the big improvers in 2023.

Then Panthers played great football all season, and for the most part have the bulk of their 2023 squad again for this season.  Harley Sparks who won all but one award last year, including a record victory in the Hayward Medal has transferred to West Coast (WAFL), while twin brother Cooper has also left the club, transferring to Harvey Bulls.  Cooper Sparks was adjudged the best player in the Grand Final.

Coach Italiano is confident of a strong showing again this season, and is happy with the progress of the team leading into the season opener against Busselton.

The Panthers start their 2024 campaign with a Grand Final rematch against Busselton in Busselton this Saturday, before a home game against the Harvey Bulls.  Carey Park then play away games until round six, playing consecutive home games against the Lions and Boomers.   They finish the season with matches against South Bunbury (home) and Donnybrook (away), while they only Augusta Margaret River and Dunsborough once in the twenty round season.

Former player and 2006 league premiership player Shane Miles continues as coach of the Reserves for a second season, while Josh Jones takes on the role of Colts Coach, with Glen Buck in charge of the Women’s team in 2024.