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Thursday, October 22 2020 @ 07:31 pm ACDT

Academy New Zealand Hawks complete NSW Tour

The Academy New Zealand Hawks recently completed a tour to Sydney where they played games against a NSW Independent Schools All Star Team and the Sydney Swans Academy. The Sydney Swans Academy were coached by former AFL great Michael O’Loughlin.
The Academy is a new pathway for aspiring AFL footballers in New Zealand. With the demise of the AIS funded team tours to New Zealand, and elsewhere, NZ have taken on the challenge themselves of organizing an alternate pathway for their more talented youth.


The touring team was selected after 65 boys from around the country were pre-selected into 3 National League teams and came together to play 4 games over a weekend. Players to stand out were Carlos Donnell-Brown (Auckland), Masiu Vanikolo (Rotorua), Utu ah Kuoi (Wellington) and the player of the tournament Connor McGeough (Wellington). McGeough, ah Kuoi and Donnell-Brown all were part of the travelling team. Other key players included Barclay Miller (Canterbury) who is now an International Scholarship holder for the St Kilda Saints and William Kempt (Wellington) whose father, Gregor, played previously for NZ at the Arafura Tournament in Darwin during the late ‘90’s.
Tournament Director Sam McKenzie was blown away by the support of the parents who came out to watch the tournament. “This has been by far the most amount of support we have had at an AFL New Zealand local event”.
Academy New Zealand Hawks Head Coach Shannon Wall was excited about the fact that the squad has been exposed to a lot of AFL Football through the AFL New Zealand Academy over the past 2 months and was well prepared as a result of this in implementing a solid structure that the team could focus on.
The travelling team represented 15 different secondary schools across NZ with Wellington College (5 players), St Pat’s Silverstream, Wellington (3 players) and Green Bay High School, Waitakere, Auckland (3 players) the most heavily represented.
The players came from across NZ and the growing impact of AFL in Northland, north of Auckland, is evident through the number of representatives from there. Interestingly there is little representation from Canterbury, Otago or Waikato but sometimes player development in areas is cyclical dependent on who is there in the regions to drive it.
Though the results were probably not unexpected with the Independent All-Stars defeating the Academy 49 to 17 and the Swans Academy blitzing the NZ Hawks team 27.15:177 to 1.1:7 success is not always measured by the scoreboard. For the NZ boys to play at the prestigious St Ignatius College, Riverview, Lane Cove followed by their second game at AFL venue Blacktown International Sportspark would have been fantastic opportunities that might help them choose AFL as a preferred sport…crucial in development markets for progressing the code.
Academy New Zealand Hawks Sydney NSW Tour 2015
Coach: Shannon Wall
Assistant Coach: Chris Mundell Assistant Coach/Manager: Mick Coultard
Assistant Coach/Runner: Samuel McKenzie
Physio: Skye Renes
Dylan Absalom Wellington College, Wellington
Naitoa Ah Kuoi Wellington College, Wellington
Utusa’itoa Ah Kuoi, Wellington College, Wellington
Joseph Alesich-Tamariki, Rosmini College, Auckland
Ben Armstrong, Bay of Islands, Northland
Alex Awatere, Aotea College, Wellington
Lewis Barrow-Young, Northcote College, Auckland
Joel Brown, St Paul’s College, Auckland
Carlos Donnell-Brown, Greenbay High School, Auckland
Misilifi Faimalo Porirua College, Wellington
Sam Green, Wellington College, Wellington
Nathan Halloran-Mclean, Greenbay High School, Auckland
Shaun Hanning, St Patrick’s College Silverstream, Wellington
William Kempt, St Patrick’s College Silverstream, Wellington
Connor McGeough, St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, Wellington
Zeon McNabb, Rosehill College, Counties
Barclay Miller, Middleton Grange College, Canterbury
Jack Morris, Greenbay High School, Auckland
Isaac Piper, St Peter’s College, Auckland
Jackson Rolleston, Te Wananga, Hamilton, Waikato
Jacob Tucker, Northcote College, Auckland
Sebastian Valadares Roman, Sacred Heart College, Auckland
Joseph Wadman, Kerikeri High School. Northland
James Watkins, Wellington College, Wellington
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