Panthers, Diggers join forces to fight disease

MND research: Daniel Worden - pictured against Tathra - joined the Pambula captain in taking an icy dip on Saturday as a fundraiser.
MND research: Daniel Worden - pictured against Tathra - joined the Pambula captain in taking an icy dip on Saturday as a fundraiser.

The Panthers have sunk their claws into the Merimbula Diggers in a local derby with a twist on the weekend. 

The two clubs joined forces to raise funds for research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) with something of a grand “Ice Bucket Challenge”. 

On the field, the Pambula squad got the better of their Merimbula opponents, winning 15-10-100 to 6-6-42.

The hosts fired out of the blocks with some good early control through the middle to lead the visitors at the break 15-14 after both teams made the best of their scoring opportunities. 

However, the Panthers ceased a lot more possession in the second quarter and outscored the hosts four goals to two with a handful of behinds helping to boost their margin at the main break. 

In the front lines, Ian Radford was in charge for the hosts, kicking three majors, while Panthers veteran Sean Smith put in plenty of work, bagging four. 

With some good kicking from Tyson Nunn and Corey Tucker, the Panthers held a 15-point lead at the half and then upped the tempo into the third quarter. 

A kicking margin of six goals to two in favour of the Panthers set them clear of the Diggers with a 40-point rift at the third break. 

Justin Pilgrim shone for the Panthers in just his second outing in the ruck. He took complete control of play by the final quarter and prevented the Diggers getting any forward movement on the ball to run out the period scoreless. 

Daniel Worden, Jack Burch and Will Regan were among the strongest performers for the Diggers. 

Earlier, the Panthers had also claimed the win in the reserve grade fixture, turning away the hosts 16-9-105 to 2-2-14. 

Tom Hammond took charge for the Panthers with a seven-goal haul, while Ian Smith kicked four. 

Dan Edwards led the scoring for the hosts, collecting both goals. 

The Diggers estimate almost $4000 was raised on the day for MND research, ranging from gold coin donations to a generous contribution of $600.

Club leaders raised funds for taking part in an extreme twist on the social media’s viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” sliding downhill into a pool of ice instead of pouring it over their heads.

Putting the score behind them, captains Daniel Worden and Dylan Cook took to the slide together.

Worden said the ice slide was a cold shock, but he was glad to help the cause.

The fundraiser was in memory of his father David Worden who passed away from the disease only three months ago. 

Diggers president Rodney Geaghan also braved the slide. He said it was an emotional but worthwhile day.

He extended his thanks to the Panthers club, including his counterpart Glen Baker who also sacrificed himself to the ice slide.