AFL Northern Territory is pleased to announced the recruitment of NT Thunder Ruckman and NTFL Rising Star winner, Neil Vea Vea, to the role of Multicultural Ambassador for the Northern Territory.
“In the newly appointed role Neil will be charged with a variety of Multicultural Program activations across the Territory, as well as providing key mentor and leadership support to up and coming multicultural players with in the NT,” said AFLNT Participation Manager Adam Moedt.
Vea Vea, 19, of South Sea Island descent (Vanuatu), feels privileged to be able to play a part in delivering the multicultural programs with in the Northern Territory.
Ruby Leete is a well known name in women’s football in the north of Queensland. The Papua New Guinea born star grew up in Port Moresby and moved to Australia in 1996. Once settled in her new home of Cairns, she soon picked up the Aussie sports bug, first playing tennis, then netball, then rugby league. However it was only in 2009 after someone at her rugby club invited her to have a go that she got hooked on AFL.
Leete learnt her trade under premiership winning team North Cairns Tigers, and supported by her netballer’s jump and firm hands, the club continued to dominate week after week in the growing Cairns league. However, after playing for the Tigers for two seasons, Leete eventually decided to switch to her current team, South Cairns Cutters.
The NZ Hawks have completed a clean sweep in their series against the South Pacific Academy, defeating the South Pacific with a big last quarter at Hutt Valley Oval.
With the average age of the Hawks 22 against an Under 18 team this is a result that shouldn't surprise. However with the scores tied up at three quarter time it took a monster quarter with the wind on the open expanses of the Hutt Valley Oval for the Hawks to take control.
Friday 26th April saw a united effort from the AFL, AFL NZ and the St Kilda Saints in a 4 hour promotion at Wellington's prestigious Basin Reserve.
Well over 1,000 participants attended the event, which had a "Meet the Saints" component that drew a number of their Melbourne based fans. For footy in NZ, it was more about allowing for direct action to follow up the previous night's game to increase participation and interest.
AFLNZ Board Chairman Geoff Dickson sees the game as a great leverage point. "Well, the game is over and we are the ones who really have to care about, and develop, footy now," said Dickson.
He continued, "What the game may enable our organisation to do is to get into more schools quicker and perhaps to attract more of the elite players to the game, whether from the Rugby First XV, League First XIII or Soccer First XI."
St Kilda have finally found their first international rookie in Porirua College's Joseph Baker-Thomas (photos courtesy AFL Media).
Joseph is 16 years old and around 193 cm. He has a background in a variety of sports including rugby, League, volleyball and basketball.
He has played 4 games of AFL 9's and played his first three games of full football at this week's NZ U18 Championships.
In speaking with him today he said "I am hugely excited about this opportunity and hope I can make the most of it".
Having seen him today on The Basin whilst Wellington had further Aussie Rules action with St Kilda meeting their supporters at the AFL NZ Have a Go day there is no doubt that he has the physical attributes to potentially play AFL.
For the many of us who dream of Australian football expanding more rapidly internationally there can be no doubt what would most accelerate the growth in any given country - having their own AFL club. So it was unexpected music to our ears to hear (or in fact read) the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key declare that his country should have an AFL side.
The comment came at an official function prior to the St Kilda - Sydney match in Wellington. Key said the unique relationship between the countries, coupled with a fierce mutual sporting rivalry, made the concept a perfect platform for the Australian game.
''Let's get real,'' he said. ''We've got to get a New Zealand side in the AFL. We've got the Breakers and we've got the Warriors - well, they've been struggling a bit lately - we need our own AFL team.''
The AFL Anzac Day clash was not all about the Swans and the Saints. A crowd which grew from around 100 to 2000 spectators saw a very good game of running football played between the NZ Hawks and the South Pacific Academy U18's.
Predictably the Hawks won, with an average age of 22 against a younger and far less experienced team. Many of the Hawks had been part of the game against the AIS in January so had experience of the venue and experience playing together.
With nine of the younger Hawks part of the South Pacific team, it gave a chance for a further group of players to represent their country for the first time. NZ coaching team member Justin Davies said that "In the end this allows another group of players to get used to our systems and practices and then return to their home areas and implement these there".