Waverley Oakleigh Panthers

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Waverley Oakleigh Panthers
Club information
Full nameWaverley Oakleigh Panthers Rugby League Club
Founded1976;43 years ago (1976)
Current details
CEOApu Cowan
CoachJanan Billings
CaptainRay Losi/Matthew Bettington
Competition Melbourne Rugby League
Premierships4 (1980, 1992, 1993, 1994)

Waverley Oakleigh Panthers Rugby League Football Club is an Australian rugby league football club based in Clayton, Victoria, that currently plays in the Melbourne Rugby League competition under the NRL Victoria. The club was founded in 1976 by a group of mutual friends and players with a common passion for the game. The club currently fields teams in the majority of the age groups from Under 6s through to seniors, and also Girls' Tag teams. The club plays its home games at Fregon Reserve in Clayton, Victoria.

Rugby league Full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field

Rugby league is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68 m wide and 112-122 m long. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

Clayton, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Clayton is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 18 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Monash. At the 2016 Census, Clayton had a population of 19,358.

The Melbourne Rugby League is a rugby league football competition located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. As of the 2018 season, there are currently 17 competing teams across the varying age groups who are affiliated with the Melbourne Storm junior system.



The club was founded in 1976 as the "Waverley Rugby Club" by a group of mutual friends and a group of dedicated players. The origin of the name came from the club being established in what was then the "City of Waverley". Following the establishment of the club, the club's first home ground was found in the Glen Waverley area of Melbourne, Larpent Reserve. [1] The clubs nickname to begin with was the Kangaroos and the first playing strip also resembled the national teams colours.

In the first few years after establishment the club was retitled "Waverley Rugby League Club" to better differentiate the club from other rugby union clubs.

The first year was a good one for the newly formed club, which reached fourth position in the Victorian Rugby League competition, playing against well established and strong clubs. The club's ambitions for its first year had been realised, it was now up and running, and was celebrated with the club's first presentation of trophies to players held at Jells Park in an old Tram. Only five years after establishment, the Waverley Rugby League Club won its maiden premiership in 1980. [2]

Jells Park public park in Wheelers Hill, a suburb to the south-east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Jells Park is a public park in Wheelers Hill, a suburb in south-east Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The park opened on 30 April 1976 and is named after Joseph Jell, a cattle grazier who worked in the area in the mid-late 1800s. The park attracts in excess of 900,000 visitors a year. It covers around 127 hectares and contains 9 kilometres of paths for cycling and walking, including Scotchmans Creek Trail, EastLink Trail, and Dandenong Creek Trail which connects to Blind Creek Trail.

In 1990, the club relocated to Clayton, in what was then the City of Oakleigh. At the same time the VRL directed all clubs to adopt the colours and monikers of existing NSWRL teams. The club chose the Penrith Panthers' name and colours, and from then on was known as the Waverley Oakleigh Panthers Rugby League club. The club deciding to keep the Waverley name as a heritage link even though it had now moved from this area.

Penrith Panthers rugby league football club

Penrith Panthers are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith. The team is based 55 km west of the centre of Sydney and at the foot of the Blue Mountains.

The Panthers' new club rooms and ground were originally adjacent to Monash Medical Centre. This ground no longer exists as it was swallowed up by the expanding hospital. In 1997, the club moved to the newly constructed club rooms and renovated ground facilities next door at Fregon reserve and have remained there since.

Monash Medical Centre Hospital in Victoria, Australia

Monash Medical Centre (MMC) is a teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia. It provides specialist tertiary-level healthcare to the Melbourne's south-east.

In the early 1990s the club also had its most successful period on the field, winning three consecutive senior premierships in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

The club continued to grow in the 1990s and 2000s. By 2007, the VRL introduced Ladies' and Girls' Tag to the competition. Teams were formed in both grades, and the teams became known as the Waverley Oakleigh "Pink" Panthers. Both teams had a very successful first year, claiming inaugural premierships. In the following years the Girls' Tag won five out of the first seven premierships.

The club's growth from its humble beginnings to the present day has been vast and strong. Dedicated leadership has kept Waverley in the competition with many successful premierships and representative players. In 2016 the club celebrated its 40th anniversary and it presently remains the oldest rugby league club in Victoria.

Club colours and emblem

The inaugural playing strip resembled the Australia national rugby league team jersey. The club at the time was also known as the Kangaroos. The original jersey and colours featured lighter green and gold "V"s to differentiate it from the national team jersey. Later, white was added to the playing strip as well. The club displays a framed original jersey in their current clubhouse in Clayton along with a number of other early jerseys. This original jumper was donated by its owner on the club's 20th anniversary. [3] The current colours of black, white, green, yellow, and red, a replica of the current NRL side Penrith Panthers along with adopting their moniker "Panthers", occurred in 1990. The jersey design has varied in the years since, mostly in line with the NRL side. Replicas all hang in the club rooms at Fregon reserve.

The Australian national rugby league team have represented Australia in senior men's rugby league football competition since the establishment of the 'Northern Union game' in Australia in 1908. Administered by the Australian Rugby League, the Kangaroos are ranked first in the RLIF World Rankings. The team is the most successful in Rugby League World Cup history, having contested all 15 and winning 11 of them, failing to reach the final only once; the inaugural tournament in 1954. Only four nations have beaten Australia in test matches, and Australia have an overall win percentage of 67%.

Club honours

Senior Premierships

1980, 1992, 1993, 1994

Notable juniors

Following are players who went on to play professional first grade rugby league.

Other juniors

See also

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  1. "Waverley Oakleigh Panthers History". WAVERLEY OAKLEIGH PANTHERS RLC. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  2. http://websites.sportstg.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=7-2121-0-0-0&sID=387727
  3. "Waverley Oakleigh Panthers History". WAVERLEY OAKLEIGH PANTHERS RLC. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  4. "Drury Low". The Bulldogs. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.