Contributed by: Jake AnsonThis weekend New Zealand's best footballers will descend upon Christchurch in the hope of winning their country's highest prize - the National Provincial Championship (NPC).
The NPC, based upon a successful format used by rugby union, pits four regional leagues (Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato & Wellington) against each other in a round robin tournament. Held over two days at Village Green Oval, adjacent to QEII Stadium in Christchurch, the tournament will provide New Zealand's best footballers with a tough challenge as they vie for selection in the NZ Falcons squad, scheduled to tour to Australia in 2005.
worldfootynews.com has been assured that all squads entering the NPC will put on a strong display of football, though Auckland and Canterbury are early tips to take home the trophy with their club premierships well underway for 2004. The NPC format is an important cog in the Australian football scene in New Zealand. It provides players from the four regional leagues with a target to work towards - namely regional selection - which provides further opportunities to achieve selection in the national squad. Hopefully as Australian football continues its growth within the New Zealand school system more regional leagues will emerge providing further competition at the NPC.
Also on in Canterbury during the NPC will be the first New Zealand International Australian Football Youth Tournament (IAFYT), pitting Under-16 representative teams from New Zealand and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) against one-another. The matches, scheduled to coincide with the NPC, will offer excellent opportunities for both sides to develop and exhibit their skills and will be a big boost for junior football in New Zealand.
For more information on the NPC and a guide to some of the players to watch out for, please visit the NZAFL website. Victorian readers with an interest in the tournament's results will be able to read them in The Age on Monday 27th September
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World Footy News