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The Panthers Group are very proud that Donald Feltis and Philip Gould, two doyens of Australian Sport and Rugby League, have been recognised on the Queen's Birthday 2014 Honours List with the award OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia). Donald received his award for his services to Rugby League football in New South Wales. Philip (Gus) for significant service to the sport of Rugby League football as an administrator commentator, coach and player, and to the community.
Donald Feltis, Chairman of the Panthers Board of Directors (since 2009), has dedicated his life to football and the community. He first became a member of the Penrith Leagues Club in 1952 at age 18. Before he turned 20, he was awarded the National Service Medal. In 1955, he joined the NSW Police Force, stationed first at Redfern, then Wellington, Bourke and Penrith.
Mr Feltis' rugby league career started as a player for Penrith Junior League. He played rugby wherever he was stationed as a police officer, then moved up to player coach in Penrith in 1964, continuing until 1970 when he began to focus solely on coaching. He coached teams in Penrith, St Mary's, Richmond and Emu Plains.
In 1986, he retired from the NSW police force after serving 32 years and received the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He joined the Panthers Organisation full time in 1986, first as administrator of the junior league operation, then in coaching and development and finally as Chief Executive in 1991, when the Panthers won the Winfield Cup.
Mr Feltis was recognised by the NSW Department of Sport for distinguished service to sport in NSW in 1995, particularly for his support of junior league rugby and was awarded the Australian Sports Medal by then Prime Minister John Howard for service to sport in 2000. His commitment to rugby league, to Penrith and to the Panthers has been acknowledged time and again over the years, and the OAM is the ultimate accolade.
Philip Gould is an icon in rugby league. He is currently the Panthers Executive General Manager of Rugby League as well as an admired commentator on the game for Channel 9, columnist for Fairfax Media and renowned public speaker. Phil has demonstrated his commitment to the game as both a coach and a player, playing for the Panthers from 1976 to 1979 displaying maturity beyond his years to become the club's youngest captain at the age of 20.
He played with the Newtown Jets from 1981 to 1982, Canterbury from 1983 to 1985 and South Sydney in 1986. He coached the Panthers to Grand Final appearances for the first time in its history in 1990 and again in 1991, securing the club's historic first-ever premiership in 1991. He was Coach of the NSW State of Origin team from 1992 to 1996, then again from 2002 to 2004, rewriting the history books as NSW's most successful coach. He assumed the mantle of Director of Coaching for the Sydney Roosters from 2002 to 2004, which also yielded silverware. In 2011 he returned to the Panthers as Executive General Manager, Rugby League.
Phil continues his love affair with rugby league beyond Australia's borders, working with the Papua New Guinea government, contributing to the development of programs underpinned by rugby league to unite the country's many tribes.
Phil's indomitable spirit and commitment to the community is demonstrated through his work with a myriad of charities from Panthers on the Prowl and Panthers Women in League, to Randwick Children's Hospital, Brave Hearts Foundation, St Gabriel's School for Hearing Impaired Children, Trees of Hope Foundation, the McGrath Foundation, and the White Ribbon Foundation.
The Panthers Organisation is extraordinarily proud to have two members of its executive team honoured with one of our country's highest distinctions, the Medal of the Order of Australia.