Pumped up Panthers walk tall for charity

The players of the Morningside Panther’s back-to-back premiership winning team are no strangers to pushing their bodies to the absolute limit.

But it seems no amount of gruelling training sessions or experience on the footy field could have prepared them for their task last weekend – to walk a mile in high-heeled shoes.

The Panthers senior players led a squad of around 80 people who all donned heels on Saturday as part of the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence.  

The walk in Hawthorne Park was undoubtedly a success, raising a tremendous $6,000 for White Ribbon Australia, a national campaign to stop violence against women.

Panthers Senior President David Diamond said the players were proud to be supporting a cause with such widespread and detrimental effects, with one woman dying from domestic violence every week in 2014.

“We have a very strong culture at the footy club as a family club, especially in our junior program. We feel our seniors have be major role models in our branding and what we want to be,” he said.

“The violence against women is out of control. It’s high profile and we thought putting the good stories out there was the appropriate response.

“It looked like quite a fun way of doing something for quite a serious issue.”

Guest speaker Rachel Kayrooz, a victim of domestic violence, highlighted the importance of actively speaking out against abuse rather than being a silent witness.

“She made the point that even if you’re not the perpetrator, but you know about issues of domestic violence, then you’re responsible for taking a stand,” Diamond said.

“Everyone in the room, everyone [supporting] the cause – we know it’s not right, so we have to raise our voices.

“It was very much about putting the responsibility back on everyone. This isn’t something that should be kept a secret.”

Despite the noticeable height difference between the heels and their well-loved footy boots, the players did a good job tackling the feminine footwear, with no injuries reported apart from a few blisters.

“There was no specific training. We had TPS Health  – our physios – there ready to catch them, but they did very well balancing,” Diamond laughed.

And just where do you find stilettos for a team of full-grown AFL players?

“We got Midas to help us and they were sourced out of China. So, they were made specially for the event,” Diamond explained.

With the overwhelming support for the walk this year, David hopes it will become an annual event.

“We obviously have to sit down and talk about it, but I think it had a great impact.

“The issue is not going to go away over night, and I think that [the walk] will get bigger and better.”

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