The 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Youth Carnival got started on Monday with a Lightening Cup tournament held at Albert Park in Suva, Fiji. With national teams from host Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru as well as a composite Pacific All Stars side – the tournament was well contested and a good warm up for the main tournament matches to follow.
AFL Pacific Development officer Ben Drew described the opening day as a terrific day of footy. Each side bringing something of their own to the games - "Tonga were tough, Vanuatu were slick, Fiji were silky, Nauru were skillful and the Pacific All Stars fought hard all day"
The Saints have returned with their Community Camp Camp to their 2nd home, and have met with supporters, local AFL players and schools.
Players and club staff visited Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with a busy schedule in each location of coaching clinics and public appearances
In Wellington, a highlight was the homecoming of Porirua teenager Joe Baker-Thomas, now an International Scholarship holder with the St Kilda Saints.
Joe Baker-Thomas brought some of his teammates to his former school Porirua College, where they trained and played with students at the school.
Other school visits covered the breadth of the Wellington region.
On Tuesday the players visited Amesbury School, Johnsonville School, Fraser Crescent School and Hutt Central School. On Wednesday they saw kids at Paremata School and Rangikura School, along with the Porirua College visit.
This year's NPC will be held in Wellington this weekend. With 4 teams competing- Auckland, Canterbury,Otago and Wellington it should be a great weekend of footy.
Auckland's team is dominated by the AAFL's Grand Final winning University Blues and their opponents, the Waitakere Magpies. It is a team that is chock full of International Cup experience and includes current Hawthorn international scholarship holder Siope Ngata and previous scholarship holder, Rhys Panui-Leith, They are defending champions and will be a formidable team.
Canterbury won the three previous titles and will be ready to reclaim their Cup. They too are a team chock full of experience internationally and will possibly be part of the title deciding game on Sunday afternoon.
The Australian Inaugural AFL Indigenous Woomeras Tour to New Zealand will depart from Melbourne for Auckland on Saturday, December 6.
Launched earlier this year at the National Youth Girls Championships in May, the Woomeras is a national Under-18 female Indigenous development program which immerses participants in an elite training environment with the aim of increasing football skills, personal development and leadership skills.
The squad of 21 will meet in Melbourne today for a two day training camp where they will be mentored by Hawthorn three-time Premiership star Shaun Burgoyne, before they depart internationally for the first time on a 10-day tour of New Zealand.
With the AFL Youth Oceania Cup just a week away - the Vanuatu Volcano's are set to re-appear with a full team. It's not cheap and not easy but each time a full squad is able to travel and represent their nation the pay off for the local game is huge with a new group of potential leaders - obviously the chance of making the Oceania and then South Pacific squads offers access to a talent pathway that leads to playing footy in Australia.
A fortnight back the Volcanos were raising funds running a car wash (at Wilco hardware). To help get them over the line - player sponsorships are available - anyone able to help can contact AFL Vanuatu via their facebook page or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Volcano's began with a 35 member training squad training for several months before trimming to a 22 member squad. Training included a session with Sydney Swan Kurt Tippett and former Swan Nick Davis who were in town for a Melbourne Cup function. Read more here.
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.