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History

A look at one of QRL’s oldest clubs

11 Jul 20, 10:26AM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Credence Media

The Wests Panthers Rugby League Football Club was established in 1915 and are one of the oldest QRL franchises still operating today.

Wests would win their first premiership in Brisbane just one year after forming in 1916, before emulating that feat again in 1920.

In 1922 the Brisbane Rugby League Premiership (BRL) would officially be formed, with the Panthers becoming the inaugural champions of the competition, going through the season undefeated.

With the rise of the Brisbane Broncos throughout the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the ARL would opt to introduce two new Queensland based clubs to their competition in the South Queensland Crushers and North Queensland Cowboys.

This meant that the BRL was no longer the premier Rugby League competition in Queensland anymore and in 1996 the Queensland Cup was born out of it’s ashes, with many BRL clubs including Wests making the transition to the new league.

In total, the Panthers won a total of 12 premierships in the BRL.

As a result of poor on-field form and financial woes, Wests would exit the Queensland Cup at the end of 2003 and participate in the lower grade competitions instead.

In 2016, the Panthers would join the new Brisbane A-Grade Rugby League competition which carried on the lineage of the FOGS Cup, which was won by the club in 2009.

The club has also developed a great junior system, with multiple teams coming under their banner including Wests Arana Hills, Wests Mitchelton, Wests Centenary, Wests Kenmore and Wests Inala.

Wests primarily play out of Purtell Park, however also use their junior clubs home grounds.

There are many notable players who applied their trade at the Panthers, with the likes of John Sattler, Paul Vautin, Brad Thorn and Brent Webb all donning the red and black stripes.

Players who have gone on to great success over the years have also eventually come back to the Wests system, with former Sunshine Coast Sea Eagle (now Falcons) and USA International Kristian Freed currently at Wests Mitchelton.

COVID-19 caused all sport in Queensland to come to an indefinite halt like the rest of the country, however return to play has been approved and Wests Panthers junior sides have begun returning to training, with the BRL A-Grade side recommending their season on the 25th of July.

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