After an entertaining season in Christchurch in which all four Clubs recoded a win in the 9 rounds, the Mid Canterbury Eagles (2 wins) played the Eastern Blues (7 wins) in the Preliminary Final. It would have been a real surprise if had not been the Eastern Blues victorious, ready to challenge the Christchurch Bulldogs (8 wins) for the 2014 Flag.
Though the Canterbury finals were affected by player unavailability due to University examinations the Blues v Bulldogs Grand Final was a fitting end of season spectacle. The Blues hit the game in peak form with 2014 International Cup players Logan Toomer, Dan Benny and the hirsute Jared Court to the fore in the Preliminary. Another to star was the brilliant James Bowden, one of NZ’s flashier and more exciting players at the inaugural International Cup in 2002, who is still a very fine footballer.
The University Blues will take on the Mt Roskill Saints at Colin Maiden Park from 2.00 on Sunday while the North Shore Tigers will be looking to avenge their one point loss last weekend with a rematch against the Waitakere Magpies, at Parrs Park from 2.00 on Sunday.
In round 10 of the AAFL the major contest of the round was between the Magpies and the Tigers, who sat 2nd and 3rd on the ladder going into the match. With home advantage for the semi final at stake, the Magpies were strong in the first quarter, taking an early lead. The Tigers piled on the defensive pressure, and with the wind advantage took a four point lead at half time. Only one goal came for each team over a slow grinding 3rd quarter, and the Tigers had 3 points and the wind going into the final quarter. However, the Magpies pulled off an incredible performance in the final quarter, kicking 4 goals into the teeth of the wind to snatch a 1 point win.
Wellington’s competition (WAFL) has continued to show progress this year. This is measurable through the number of junior footballers now coming from the Hawks Cup and playing in the local League. It is also apparent through the four Clubs all winning at least one game in the 6 round regular season and the weakest of the Clubs, the Wellington City Saints, seeing out the season and gaining numbers as it went along.
With no Preliminary Final the Hutt Valley Eagles finished third with 2 wins whilst the North City Demons with 3 wins will play against the undefeated Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs this weekend. Another measurable factor is the close result of the Wellington Rep side against Auckland in October and the excitement already evident about hosting the National Provincial championships in early December.
The North City Demons have a wealth of teenagers with many having played for NZ at underage level. These include Waylon Baker, Dylan Absalom, Sam Green, Alex Awatere, Lewis Gill, Jack Green and Hugo Phillips.
The AFL today announced the locations for the 2014/2015 Australia Post AFL Community Camps, with St Kilda Football Club to kick off the first camp in December on the Mornington Peninsula and then overseas in New Zealand.
More than 800 AFL players will take the game to regional and rural communities around Australia and New Zealand in the lead up to the 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
AFL General Manager People Customer and Community, Dorothy Hisgrove said the Australia Post AFL Community Camps were about players giving back to the community and sharing with fans their passion for Australia’s Game.
St Kilda and Carlton will play in Wellington in the opening game on Anzac Day next year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
The match will start at 1.10pm local time (11.10am AEST), meaning it will coincide with the Anzac Day marches that take place in each capital city around Australia.
It will be the first of five matches to be played on Anzac Day next year, which falls on a Saturday, and comes with the agreement of the Victorian RSL after discussions with the AFL.
As our two countries look ahead and unite for such an important day, we acknowledge the historical significance of the Australian and New Zealand relationship,” Saints CEO Matt Finnis said.
“This game gives our supporters a time to remember in a place they will never forget.
St Kilda is set to be further entrenched as New Zealand’s AFL team of choice, with the club to hold its High Performance Training Camp and AFL Australia Post Community Camps in the country.
With NZ born Shane Savage on their mainlist and Joe Baker-Thomas and Giovanni Mountain-Silberry both on AFL International Scholarships with the Saints they are really endeavouring to position themselves as NZ's number one team to support.
The Saints playing list will be spread over Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch for three days as part of the AFL Australia Post Community Camp from December 1-3 before the squad meets in Queenstown to complete its High Performance training camp.
Touring teams provide AFL New Zealand High Performance players with the best opportunity to test and push their skills, and VAFA were certainly effective at that. With the annual two game series this year the Ammos certainly provided some lessons to the Kiwis in how to play footy.
However, the experience gained by the New Zealand players will be invaluable in their journeys as AFL players and athletes. Many of the players in this side will go on to be Senior New Zealand Hawks representatives, a few already have been. For now, many players within the squad will be returning to club matches around the country, and will be in a fantastic position to apply what they have learnt through regular time on the field.
In the first game of the series played in slippery wet conditions, the VAFA were unstoppable moving the ball into the attacking area, and were simply too classy despite a valiant effort from the New Zealanders.
The International Cup held in Melbourne sadly lacked a NZ Women’s team but the NZ U 18 Kahu recently completed their two game series for the AFL International Youth Girls’ Cup against the Australian U 18 national side, The Breeze.
Though the results were totally one-sided it provided the Australian girls with a chance to represent their country and a way for the New Zealanders’ to benchmark their development.
The first game was played with a fiercely competitive spirit, with both teams playing their hearts out until the final hooter. The result was a large win to Australia, with the talent and class of their players evident throughout the game. At no stage though did the Kahu ease off on the pressure, and they made it clear to the Breeze that they were in a contest.
As reported earlier this year – 2 representatives from Solomon Islands AFL (SIAFL) were playing the year with AFL Darling Downs side Coolaroo. Francs Ramo and Peter Nuku were afforded a chance of a lifetime to play footy in Australia. And - in what is a relatively young footy region - the Darling Downs having been formed as the Darling Downs Australian Football League in 1971.