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Club History

The original Papatoetoe Rugby League Club was located in Omana Road, Papatoetoe. It went into recess in the mid 1970's. The reasons given for this are too varied, and appear to depend on individuals opinions.
In 1980, Joyce Robinson and Betty Corfield, members of the Mangere East Club founded the Papatoetoe Club, as a feeder to their own club. Their goal was to regain access to Omana Park, which was lost to the code. Unfortunately in the intervening years, the local athletic club had ensured the ground would remain unusable for Rugby League by positioning their concrete throwing circles in the middle of the fields.

Initially three teams played in the lower schoolboy grades in Mangere East strip; by 1981 the Papatoetoe Committee brought fabric and parents made playing jerseys in the traditional gold with two narrow black vees. With Graham Mattson, an ex Kiwi as coach of the oldest team and Chairman, Gloria Hogan as Secretary and Wayne Mackwood as Treasurer, the club began to achieve a distinct identity. With no Clubrooms of their own, the Panthers commandeered a corner of the Mangere East Clubrooms from which to present their Player of the Day Awards.

Until 1989 the Panthers continued as a Schoolboy Only Club, and a feeder club to Mangere East. A dedicated band of volunteers ensured the club thrived even though the Club had neither playing nor training fields. Training was conducted on reserves, in backyards and occasionally, school grounds. Every game for every team was an "away" game.

In 1990 the first adult team, a Senior B side was admitted to the Auckland competition. This signalled the end of the Feeder Club Status, as the Panthers became a club in its own right. No longer welcomed at Mangere East, the club attainted the use of the local Softball Club as a base for a year.
In spite of having no home grounds, the club had become, in 10 short  years, one of Aucklands strongest youth clubs.

In recognition of this the Autex Award was presented to the Panthers at the 1990 Annual General Meeting of Auckland Rugby League.

After 10 years of a nomadic existence, the club was given its first playing fields at the then "Station Road Reserve". 1991 the local hotel, "The Saint George Tavern" became the Clubs home and the following year the Council's Depot Building was fitted out as a permanent home at our home grounds. Voluntary labour and donated materials turned what was an implement shed into a reasonable, if unlicensed facility.
Throughout the 1990's the Club continued to win championships in the Junior Grades and became a competitive force in the Second Division of the Premiers Competition.

In 2000 the club erected a $250,000 clubrooms at Kohuora Reserve (originally Station Road Reserve) with the assistance of the ASB Charitable Trust, The Papatoetoe Licensing Trust, The Lotteries Commission and the MMC Shared Responsibility Scheme.

2003 saw Club President and Club founder, Wayne Mackwood receive an MBE (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit) in the Queens Birthday Honors List for his services to Rugby League. Wayne held the office of President until his untimely death in 2010, following 18 years as Chairperson, as well as holding positions as Secretary and Treasurer concurrently.

2004 finally saw the Club erect proper training lights, it took 22 years to achieve what all other Auckland Clubs had, before the Panthers were even formed.

The prestigious Autex award was again bestowed on the Panthers, making the Club one of the few to have won it more than once, and in 2008, the club were awarded "Club of the Year" by ARL.

Over the years the Club has been one of the most successful clubs in Auckland on the playing field. Schoolboys and Junior successes have been remarkable.

Many prominent players started their football at the Panthers including Monty Betham, Iafeta Paleasina, Kylie Leuluai, and Ali Lauiti'iti. In fact some years ago when the Warriors fielded an Under 19's team, 12 of the 26 squad were players who had played for the Panthers.

April 29th, 2011, marked the grand opening of the Mackwood Lounge, in honor of its late President Wayne Mackwood (MBE).

The 2011 Papatoetoe Sports Awards, saw Premier Co-Coach Rod Ratu win Coach of the Year Award, and Palu Tapaevalue, Premier Player, won the Outstanding Player award.

On August 20th, 2011, the Premiers made the Grand Finals which progressed the club to the Sharman Cup.
30 Rangitoto Rd, Papatoetoe Phone: 09 278 8673
Phone 021 153 0244
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