A Brief History of the Panthers
During 2004 recreational Manager at the Oakleigh Centre Mrs Yvonne Skoda was approached by the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA) along with the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) on the possibility of forming a football team in and around the local area that had not previously been covered by FIDA. Yvonne then approached volunteers within the Centre to maybe investigate and form a football team of people with intellectual disabilities to compete in the FIDA competition. After a successful meeting early in 2005 between FIDA, VAFA, Mazenod Old Collegians Football Club and volunteers from the Oakleigh Centre, the Mazenod Panthers Football Club was formed and played our first game in season 2005 in Division 3 with a team of 12 players mainly all from the Oakleigh Centre. In a recruitment effort, team co-ordinator Andrew Sharp visited Emerson Special School in Dandenong, and after discussions with school sports master Scott Tucker a need for this type team activity was discussed as a great integration program for special school students both past and present. Scott was then able to recruit several players with ability to enable the Mazenod Panthers to field a second team in a higher division of the FIDA competition. With the involvement of volunteers Ron Dovaston, Alf Duijkers, Yvonne Skoda and parents of our team, along with our generous sponsors Glenn Tilling, Cameron Sharp and the Oakleigh Centre, we were able to purchase two sets of jumpers to complete our first season in the competition with two teams and successfully winning the premiership in Division 2.