In round 20 the Panthers will tackle the Raiders at Pepper Stadium, and the occasion will be used to raise $100,000 for Nepean Family Room at Nepean Hospital. Members and fans have responded to the news with a number of questions - most of which have been answered below.
I am a Panthers member. Why am I being asked to buy a ticket for the round 20, July 26 game at Pepper Stadium?
For some time now Panthers has been negotiating to take this round to Christchurch, New Zealand, underpinned by a strategic and long-term plan. As such, this game was never factored into the cost of your 2015 membership, specifically stated in this year’s membership terms. All options related to 10 home games. Effectively, this now becomes home game number 11. Now the New Zealand plans have been deferred to next year, the club is excited to give you another home game to cheer on the Panthers at Pepper Stadium. We hope you can also appreciate this is a very special chance to raise significant funds for an incredibly worthy cause.
Will I be able to sit in my reserved seat?
Yes, Members have a priority pre-sale window that will open on Wednesday 8th July. Members currently with reserved seating will be emailed their unique password by Wednesday morning. Please note no members' seat will be made available to the general public without the Panthers membership team first contacting that member.
Why was the announcement made so late?
Panthers were in deep discussion with the city of Christchurch, aiming to commence our trans-Tasman relationship in 2015. Due to a number of circumstances beyond the control of both parties, it was deemed preferable to start in 2016, rather than rush through everything this year.
Why the decision to partner with Nepean Family Room?
Panthers have a longstanding relationship with Nepean Hospital. We have always supported our community and are proud to assist with the inspiring work which keeps this facility going. Panthers hope the success of the fundraising this year will lead to a dedicated round each season to draw attention to the amazing service provided by the Nepean Family Room.
What is the Nepean Family Room?
The Nepean Family Room is a home away from home for families of seriously ill children being treated at Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Nepean Hospital. Rather than spending a night in a hospital waiting room or worse, away from their children, family members can stay in comfort at the Family Room whilst receiving support from staff, volunteers or other families sharing similar experiences. The Nepean Family Room is managed by volunteers and contains a kitchen, lounge room, dining area, play area, a mother's room and a quiet room.
If I'm not a Penrith Panthers fan, can I support the Nepean Family Room without purchasing a ticket to the match?
Absolutely! Donations can be made online at http://bit.ly/Rnd20Donations and will be combined with the funds raised from ticket and jersey sales as we work towards the $100,000 goal.
Why can't Panthers simply put on a free match and donate 100% of revenue to Nepean Family Room?
We would love nothing more than to donate everything to Nepean Family Room. However the costs of hosting a game day are substantial and the stark reality is the club wouldn't be around too long if we played games at Pepper Stadium for 'free'.
The motivation behind our undertaking is two fold.
Firstly, although we received offers to take this match to two other country towns instead of Christchurch, the Panthers board and senior management agreed unanimously it was more important to return this match to Pepper Stadium for our members and fans.
A short term, one-off match in the bush does little for game development and the spread of Panther Pride, nor does it offer any meaningful benefit to these respective communities. Christchurch is being considered ONLY on the basis of a long-term and sustainable plan to grow, develop and nurture rugby league in New Zealand's South Island.
The second, and equally important motivation is our resolve to work even harder for our community, for a local cause which impacts so many families in the region. The Nepean Family Room survives only on the basis of charitable contributions and as much as we would love to do more, we believe this initiative represents a good starting point - a platform from which to grow into an annual event we can all be proud of.