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The Panthers’ jersey design competition for the 2014 Close the Gap round has really taken off, with fans as far away as the Northern Territory getting involved!

A group of students from Clyde Fenton Primary School in Katherine have come up with front and back designs for our NRL team to wear in our Round 23 game against the Cowboys at Sportingbet Stadium.

Year 5/6 teacher Tim East follows the Panthers on Facebook and saw details of the competition, so decided to see if the kids wanted to get involved.

“We had about 24 of our Year 6 students who were keen to get involved. We have a handful of kids who support the Panthers because I support them! I have a 2013 and a 2014 polo as well as numerous club jerseys that I wear to school, and I often have posters of the team up around the classroom!

“The kids go for Queensland mostly and a few go for whichever team ex-student Luke Kelly plays for, but NRL is growing in Katherine, with increasing participation each year. A lot of people here went to the Panthers game in Darwin last year.  A lot of students, especially the younger ones, refer to them as “That black panther team”, and when we have footy colours day I bring in all of my Panthers jerseys ranging from the liquorice all-sorts to the 2013 premiership one, and the kids always fight over who gets to wear one!

Tim says the kids were given a couple of lessons to work on their designs, and have asked for a few more lessons to make them perfect!

“The students have drawn on the art styles of their ancestors whether it be dot painting, cross hatching or x-ray art which are common styles of NT communities.  Students have selected animals like the turtle which are prominent in culture, diet and traditions, and they’ve used colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Flags as well as the NT ochre.

And he reckons there will be big celebrations if one of their designs wins!

“Our school has a big sense of holistic pride.  We are a small school of 250 students who come from either Katherine town or one of the four Indigenous communities bordering Katherine, Binjari, Kalano, Rockhole and Gorge Camp. Students celebrate each other’s achievements rather than having the spotlight on themselves.  I know the students will get around the winning designer and celebrate as a group.  We might even have to open the school on the weekend to watch the game!!”

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.