The 2017 NAB AFL Academy Level 1 Squad will depart for Wellington today as part of a High Performance Camp that will include a clash against an open-age New Zealand side on Monday, April 24 at Westpac Stadium.
The challenge match will be the sixth year an Australian Under 17s side has played against a New Zealand team, with players part of this year’s Level 1 Squad following in the footsteps of Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan, West Coast Eagles’ Dom Sheed, GWS’ Josh Kelly, St Kilda’s Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings, North Melbourne’s Luke McDonald and Gold Coast Suns’ Jack Martin who were part of the NAB AFL Academy in 2012.
AFL National and International Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan said the opportunity to represent Australia and develop as individuals and footballers presented an incredible opportunity for NAB AFL Academy members.
“Australia’s best under 17 players really value the opportunity to play for their country against another country in a foreign environment,” Sheehan said.
A huge round of footy in Nauru on the weekend saw the top of the table clash decided by a goal and the other two matches by five points. The Magpies cemented top spot with their 6 point win over the Bombers with Kenneth Oppenheimer kicking three goals for the winners. Both sides will play off again next week, this time in the Qualifying final for a spot in the Grand Final.
FRIDAY APRIL 7, 2017 CATS SCRATCH DOGS IN A THRILLER It was a tight and tough contest from the outset as players went in hard. The contest was tough as both teams tried hard to gain control but nothing could separate them going into the last quarter. Going with a slight breeze in the last quarter, it was the Cats that won most of the ball and kept the game in their half for most of the quarter.
But despite winning more possessions in the last, the Cats squandered their opportunities frequently missing easy shots at goal. The Bulldogs were more accurate and with young player Blame Maaki kicking 2 goals in the last quarter, they remained dangerously close.
In the dying minutes Cats dangerman Shawn Kemp Maaki slotted a goal from a tight angle to take the lead and they held on to win by 5 points in a thriller.
Round4kickedoffonSaturday with the Magpies unbeaten run ended by the previously winless Kangaroos. On Sunday the Hawks and Dogs ended their clash with scores level and the Hawks wishing they had kicked a little straighter. For all the details read on.
BOMBERS TOO STRONG FOR THE CATS
A strong start from the Bombers kicking 6 straight goals in the first quarter to set up their win. Kaison Tatum was in devastating form in the first quarter taking strong contested marks and kicking 3 majors. Tango Hubert continued his recent good form for the Bombers competing strongly in the forwards, both in the air and on the ground. To the Cats credit they fought back hard after their slow start and kept close to the Bombers eventually going down by 22 points.
Round3kickedoffonSaturday with the Magpies 17 point winners over the Bulldogs to take outright top spot on the ladder. The Magpies spearheaded by Kenneth Oppenheimer may have stretched that lead if they kicked accurately.
In other games, the Cats defeated the Hawks by 32 points and the Bombers had the biggest win of the round with a 39 point win over the Kangaroos. Khyde Menke and Bronco Deiderang both kicked 5 goals in that match with Deiderang leading the league with 16 goals from the three matches so far.
The South Pacific country of Tonga has been introduced to footy fairly recently, but they’ve taken to the sport quickly and have been able to earn their stripes on the international level. The small Polynesian archipelago of roughly 103,000 people is home to many talented athletes.
Tongans have historically favoured other full-contact sports throughout their history, as rugby union is their national sport and rugby league is also widely played in the islands. This influence is apparent in the growing Tongan diaspora, specifically in Australia and New Zealand.
Footy wasn’t introduced to Tonga until the 1980s, when a couple of Australian teachers visited Tongan schools and managed to show the kids the rules of the game. Later on in the 90s, Ewen Gracie, a teacher from Melbourne, worked at a Tongan high school and attempted to establish an ongoing school-based Aussie rules competition with reasonable success
When you think of sports in New Zealand, your mind generally goes to rugby union. The All-Blacks, the country’s national team, are the winningest team in any sport anywhere in the world. But Australia’s Oceanic neighbor is home to a small-but-growing community of Aussie rules footballers.
Footy was introduced to New Zealand in 1868, but the majority of the original clubs were eventually pressured or convinced into switching to soccer or rugby rules. Aussie rules was not seen as a sport that had staying power among Kiwis, and the game didn’t catch on for many decades.
The 2017 Senior competition kicked off with 3 games. The Hon. Minister for Sports attended the opening and tossed the coin to launch the first game. The Opening round was sponsored by Capelle & Partners and Australian Aid.
Bulldogs vs Kangaroos
The first was the Grand Final replay between the Bulldogs and the Kangaroos. After a tight first quarter, the Bulldogs stepped up a gear in the 2nd and 3rd quarters with their star players in Niga Haulangi, Patrick Agadio, Deiri Cook and Nanitten Temaki leading the charge. Donatello Moses was lively up forward but it was Jose Uepa who normally play defence who was unstoppable in the forward line bagging a personal best of 6 goals. For the Roos, Mikey Hiram won plenty of the ball and he was supported by Jarmen Pole and Charles Dagiaro.
The dangerous Bronco Deidenang was their only shining light up forward kicking 7 goals. Recruit Skaga Dowabobo also performed well and held his own against Bulldogs ruckman Lennox Agege. In the end, the Dogs had more options and more winners across the ground running out comfortable winners by 38 points.
The smallest island nation in the world, Nauru has a notable and sizable presence in the international Aussie rules community. With 680 registered junior and senior players out of a population of roughly 10,000, Nauru has the highest participation rate of any country in the world (30-35%).
That’s pretty impressive for a nation that is less than a century old and covers less than 10 square miles.
Nauru is a tiny phosphate rock island in the central Pacific, located just south of the Equator in the vicinity of several archipelago-nations, including the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati.
Despite being very close geographically, Australia and Papua New Guinea might seem like being worlds apart in culture and lifestyle. But in the realm of sports, the two countries are very similar – Papua New Guinea’s national sport is rugby league, making it one of the few countries besides Australia to favor rugby league over rugby union.
But the country is also home to a very passionate footy community, which the locals typically refer to as “AFL” or just “Rules.”
Papua New Guinea was an Aussie territory for many years, establishing partially autonomous rule shortly after World War II, but not becoming a fully independent nation until 1975. Given these historic ties, it’s not surprising that the sport of Aussie rules has a well-established history in PNG.
Footy was first played in PNG in 1944 in the city of Lae, where a number of Australian schoolteachers and military personnel were located. Lae, the second-largest city in PNG, proved to be an ideal spot for an Aussie rules community to grow over the next few decades, as the game spread to other large cities, including the capital, Port Moresby.