A new documentary following seven Western Sydney teenage boys as they trek the infamous Kokoda Trail with stars from the Panthers NRL team will premiere on Television Sydney (TVS) in February. Narrated by Panthers legend Phil Gould, the hour-long documentary Kokoda: In the Footsteps of the Brave follows the boys as they trek alongside Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, prop Tim Grant and new signing Jamie Soward over six gruelling days. The documentary has been produced by Television Sydney (TVS) and will be broadcast on free to air digital 44 on 22nd February 2014.
Led by Vietnam Veteran and NSW Upper House MP Charlie Lynn, the trek was the brainchild of former Panthers forward Brad Waugh.
Waugh now heads up Panthers on the Prowl, the community arm of the Panthers Group, and said the trek was organised to help teenagers in the Panthers’ heartland of Penrith.
The group completed what is normally a 10-day trek in just six days, sometimes trekking for up to 16 hours a day through the humid, mountainous jungle to get to camp.
“The seven boys were chosen from local schools following a competitive application process,” Waugh explained.
“The boys were from a range of different backgrounds, had very different personalities and varying interests. There were not only seasoned athletes and school captains, but those who had really started to turn their school lives around after a rough start.”
The group had become extremely close as a result of the trek, and all had taken away something from community mentors in the shape of corporate sponsors that also went along, Waugh said. But the trek was not without its drama; the documentary shows the highs and lows of a week spent coping in trying conditions, trudging through mud, and one trekker being evacuated after becoming gravely ill.
“The boys learned many things along the way, but mostly how to cope with a range of difficult situations, and how to help others as a team,” Waugh explained.
Television Sydney (TVS) CEO Rachel Bentley said the station broadcasted from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Werrington Campus, and was very pleased to be associated with the local initiative. “Supporting the community is what underpins our work here at TVS and we were very pleased to be approached by Panthers Group to make this documentary,” she said. “Panthers on the Prowl does very important work throughout the Penrith region, and hopefully this high quality program will spread the word about how the local community benefits. “We are pleased to continue providing thoughtful local content across the Greater Western Sydney area.”
Panthers Group Head of Business Development Justin Pascoe thanked major sponsors OAK, Asics, Tooheys, Cabe Group, ANZ Bank and John Demestre & Co, Hertz Penrith, Martin’s Chemist and Newport Recruitment, without whom the trip would not have been possible.
Kokoda: In the Footsteps of the Brave will screen on TVS, free to air channel 44, on Saturday, 22nd February 2014 at 6.30pm. It will repeat at midnight and midday on 24th February and 5pm on 27th February.
To view the trailer for the documentary visit: http://tiny.cc/osa7ax