Panthers have treated 50 deserving people to an experience they’ll never forget with a special night out at the footy.
Last Saturday evening four Nepean Area Disability Organisation (NADO) touch football teams were rewarded with a delicious BBQ dinner and tickets to Penrith’s blockbuster match against the North Queensland Cowboys at Pepper Stadium.
The teams – which consist of male and female players with a disability, NADO staff and partners – play in the Penrith Touch Association social competition each Tuesday night.
Speaking with Extra Time, NADO Operations Manager Brooke Wilkie said last weekend’s night at the footy was a rare chance for players to experience the game up close.
“They loved it, they loved the whole experience,” she said.
“Most of them love the footy but don’t get to go that often for various reasons, so they might watch it on TV but never get to experience it live.”
Before the game the group were treated to a BBQ dinner at TC’s Sports Bar inside Panthers Leagues Club and were also issued with a special Panthers cap.
The experience was provided to NADO by Panthers on behalf of ClubGrants Community Funding.
“To get that type of support from the club is massive for an organisation like us,” Ms Wilkie said.
“We’ve had a lot of support in the past from St Marys Leagues Club and to now have Panthers on board, led by their Chairman David O’Neill, is huge.
“Being at the game and part of the atmosphere was awesome, everyone had a great time.”
Ms Wilkie revealed one Panthers player who everyone had their eye on was halfback Jamie Soward, who apparently is no stranger to a spot of local touch football.
“Our NADO teams have played against Jamie Soward in the social competition during the off-season, so they all know him very well,” she said.
“Only a few weeks ago Jamie came down to watch some touch footy games and actually gave Paul, one of our players, a Panthers headgear.
“On Saturday night they were cheering Jamie on like they knew him – that was really good to see.”
The NADO organisation is located in St Marys and Penrith.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.