This year has been a very positive one for Wellington AFL in that a local season of footy was played. In 2012 the competition never eventuated even after trying to commence with three teams with the North City Demons in recess.
After the excitement generated from finishing Runners Up to Canterbury in the National Provincial Championships (NPC) in late 2012, regular participation of Wellington players in NZ senior and under-age teams and the highlight of the Anzac Day game between St Kilda and Sydney at the Wellington Stadium it provided the impetus for the re-establishment of the local competition.
Football in New Zealand continues to be supported by high quality touring Australian teams.
Locally this weekend sees the Senior Championships (NPC), all local Leagues have played their Grand Finals or are due to and the school-age Hawks Cup has recently been completed. It is important that all of this local footy leads to opportunities for the players to be tested against Australians.
The schoolboys aged U16 from the Hawks Cup will play the touring Flying Boomerangs which provides real purpose for their involvement in AFL.
The New Zealand National Provincial Championships (NPC) were held last weekend in Christchurch at Westminster Park. In a thrilling weekend for footy in NZ Auckland were undefeated in their three games, though Wellington pushed them hard. Canterbury won two matches with a particularly convincing win over Wellington and Otago were winless after losing to Wellington.
This week the 5th AFL Youth Oceania Cup will take place. Previous winners since the inaugural event in 2009 have been Tonga, PNG, New Zealand and last year Fiji. The pathway has changed somewhat with last years the first tournament without either of New Zealand or PNG involved in this phase. Next year the Oceania side will again take on PNG and NZ in the South Pacific Cup.
Below is a media release from the AFL
Fiji will host the 2013 Youth AFL Oceania Cup from December 10 to 14.
Canterbury, the current champions, will be keen to use home advantage to retain their title this coming weekend in Christchurch. In 2012 they won their third National Provincial Championship in a row.
With a strong squad in 2013, Canterbury has an excellent chance to beat the other three leagues sending teams.
Auckland, Wellington and Otago will all be competing at the National Provincial Championship. Otago is the newest team at the competition, and could be the surprise package of the weekend. Wellington and Auckland will both be tough to beat, with squads filled with experienced and tough players. Disappointingly Waikato are unable to make this year’s Championships after a number of years competing at this level.
HAWTHORN upgraded Shem Tatupu and Kurt Heatherley to their full rookie list. Now it will only take consistent form and a long term injury (to a current Hawthorn player so they can be elevated onto the senior list for either of the boys to make their AFL debut.
Tatupu has only played about 20 games of Australian Rules, and spent the year finishing school in Auckland, but at the age of 17 he has convinced the Hawks he can make it at AFL level. The 196cm, 102kg key forward was one of two New Zealand international scholarship holders welcomed on to the club’s playing squad when he and athletic 193cm defender Kurt Heatherley were taken in the AFL rookie draft.
The two best AFL teams in Auckland are set to go head to head, with the Waitakere Magpies and the Mt Roskill Saints both qualifying for the Auckland AFL final.
The current Premiers are the Mt Roskill Saints, who have also enjoyed a strong season in 2013, finishing top of the table. Young James McKenzie has been a significant presence in the side, and has also recently been part of the Under-18 New Zealand Hawks, along with Saints team-mates Taylor Alaelua and Gray Samuels. Veteran Australian Dan Carman, Michael Boyce, son of AFLNZ legend Peter Boyce, and Matt Kemp will all be players to watch out for too in the final.
This has been an exciting season for the four team top division in Auckland with the two Grand Finalists and the always strong University Blues all a chance for top spot before the commencement of the final round.
The AFL today announced the locations for the 2013/2014 Australia Post AFL Community Camps, with Greater Western Sydney Giants to kick off the first camp in Canberra on December 2.
The Australia Post AFL Community Camps will see more than 800 AFL players take the game to regional and rural communities across Australia, as well as overseas again when St Kilda Football Club visits Wellington, New Zealand in February 2013.
AFL General Manager People, Customer and Community Dorothy Hisgrove said fans of all ages across the country will have the chance to meet their AFL heroes, in the lead up to the 2014 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.