Kiwis march on AFL as key figure heads for Rugby
Saturday, June 17 2006 @ 06:47 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
There's been a lot going on in footy relating to New Zealand lately. Two young Kiwi born players have made their move on the AFL, one of their internationals has moved to Melbourne, and one of the key people in their recent success has moved into Rugby administration.
New Zealand born Adam Campbell recently debuted for the Fremantle Dockers in the AFL. Living in Australia for just five years, Campbell demonstrates that a talented young sportsman can transition to Aussie Rules if he is immersed in the sport. Pleasingly his success was also reported in New Zealand, such as in New Zealander lines up in AFL (though they did get his name wrong). A more detailed report can be found in Not your traditional pathway on the AFL website. In it Justin Chadwick explains that Campbell moved to western Victoria when he was 14 and had to put his dreams of playing with the Rugby All-Blacks aside, instead embracing footy. In 2003 the West Australian club drafted him and at 21 he is into the big time, with his aggressive Rugby approach seen as an asset. See also Kiwi to make AFL debut.
It has also been pleasing to see that one of Fox Footy's games are now being shown live once a week on SKY Sports in New Zealand on Saturday afternoons, and has even included a welcome to Kiwi viewers from the commentary team, including Wayne Schwass, a former North Melbourne star who was from across the Tasman.
Another young player with Kiwi connections to get a taste of the AFL is Khan Haretuku. He was born in Sydney to NZ parents and has recently been added to St Kilda's apprentice list. For more details see Saints sign second scholarship player.
New Zealand Falcons International Cup player Scott McNally has made the move to Melbourne to try living in Australia and experience footy fully. In an interview on the NZAFL website, McNally says he's currently playing in Division 1 of the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), though he notes it isn't the top grade, with the league set up such that there is A, B, C then Divisions 1 to 4. With a hint of jumping on the bandwagon, the young New Zealander has decided to follow the resurgent Collingwood team. Read the full interview in NZ player moves across the ditch to play Aussie Rules.
All this has been good for the game in New Zealand, but in a potential blow to the sport, NZAFL CEO Rob Malone has taken up a position as Chief Executive Officer of Northland Rugby Union in NZ. The talented former AFL player was a key figure in the Falcons' International Cup success, assisting with coaching plans and coordinating the whole effort with military precision. A great asset to Aussie Rules in the Land of the Long White Cloud, and a pleasure to deal with through worldfootynews.com, Malone will be sorely missed.