THE AFL's new interchange cap has made the modern game harder than ever, Sydney Swans star Luke Parker believes, and made his side's midfield more dangerous for opposition sides.
Parker has started 2016 in stunning fashion, averaging over 31 possessions per game so far alongside Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery and co-captain Kieren Jack.
The Swans' hard nut is leading the AFL Coaches' Association MVP award after four rounds and would have polled well in the Brownlow medal count.
The new rule limiting teams to 90 changes each game has seen the game's premier midfielders spending more time resting inside 50, and Parker says with players on the ground for around 10 minutes extra each week, the change suit the Swans.
Parker, Hannebery, Tom Mitchell and Harry Cunningham are all averaging a goal a game in 2016.
"The good thing about our midfield is the depth we have," Parker said.
"With Tommy Mitchell starting forward and Isaac (Heeney) as well, they're able to come into the midfield, and Harry Cunningham as well.
"There's probably seven or eight blokes going through the centre bounces throughout the game, and it adds another string to our bow that we have enough mids to get through that 90 rotations and can go forward, go deep and hopefully get some mismatches.
"To get the rotations forward is something we've been working on since the pre-season and it's something now that midfielders have to do; there's not a midfielder in the competition that is going midfield then off.
"Most of them are going midfield and forward and trying to get dangerous down there.
"We've always had a strong midfield and now the young guys coming through have had that 40-50 games experience and they're taking their game to the next level and becoming senior players out on the field.
"The excitement that the young guys bring inspires us to get better."
Parker missed the last five games of 2015, including both of the club's finals losses to Fremantle and North Melbourne, after he broke his ankle in round 20 against Collingwood at the SCG.
The gutsy 23-year-old made a valiant attempt to make it back for the finals, but despite running strongly in the lead-up to the Kangaroos clash he was never a realistic chance of taking the field.
Parker said that being forced to watch on with injured teammates Kieren Jack (knee) and Sam Reid (hamstring), and Lance Franklin, who had taken personal leave, as the Swans crashed to a disappointing finish to the year had played a major factor in his brilliant start to this season.
"This year was about getting back to enjoying football, and at times you can get so stressed and serious about winning games, so for me I've stripped it back to enjoying football and having fun out there," Parker said.
"Missing the most important time of the year in the finals last year (was tough), you want to be out there playing with the boys, it's the best part of the year.
"To miss that really drove me to just get back and start playing.
"I'm grateful that the medical team have helped me with the leg getting back to 100 per cent and being able to play full games from the get go."