The HANZ-UP programme is a community based football programme organised between the Hawthorn Football Club and AFL New Zealand. The alliance allows Hawthorn to promote the game in New Zealand, whilst AFL New Zealand has the opportunity like no other international football organisation to engage the local juniors in a variety of football activities, including Auskick programmes, school competitions, and clinics with Hawks players.
Kiwikick is based on the Auskick programme in Australia and is run for boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 13 years.
New Zealand's only South Island club premiership has been run and won. The Mid-Canterbury Eagles have won their inaugural Premiership in the Canterbury Australian Football League defeating reigning premiers Christchurch Bulldogs in a fantastic Grand Final.
Earlier in the day perennial champions the Eastern Blues took third place putting away the University Cougars in a great day for football in Christchurch.
The main game started at a frenetic pace, with players throwing themselves at the contest. It looked early that the Eagles were in control, but they wasted seveal gettable opportunities in front of goal, while the more accurate Bulldogs converted with their limted opportunities. At quarter time the Eagles led by 6-points, with only 2 goals on the scoreboard despite their domination around the ground.
The annual New Zealand NPC (National Provincial Championships) will be held in Wellington this weekend (November 5th and 6th). Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato and Wellington will battle for national supremacy with recent winners Canterbury and Auckland heavily favoured.
It is expected that representatives from the Otago Club will be shared between the Leagues to allow for their involvement and to underpin future development in the bottom of the South Island.
The Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) Under 18s invitational side have just completed their third annual tour of New Zealand, coming away undefeated against the NZ Under 20s. The opportunity for these young men to travel and experience a different culture would be of tremendous benefit to them.
It is to be hoped that the football itself was a great experience as the NZ Hawks look to grow the game and close the gap further each year. With the Kiwis fielding a side with an average age of 17 this should translate into a long term benefit for the Hawks.
Last Saturday (October 8th) was grand final day in the Solomon Islands AFL (SIAFL). The forecast was for a wet day, maximum of 8 and possible hail. And on the field the top team the Hawks (having only lost once for the year) were to face off against the 2nd placed Wolves.
The venue was the KG6 Cricket oval – and the SIAFL had a 1pm curtain raiser with a match made up from the various training centres around town. The main game starting at 2pm to wrap up the inaugural season of AFL competition in the Solomons.
The 2011 Papua New Guinea AFL Port Moresby (AFLPOM) Grand Final is scheduled for this Saturday, October 15th, at the Amini Park in Port Moresby. Combatants on the day are the Lamana Dockers and the Hitron Bomana Cats.
The last week of September in Melbourne in particular saw most footy attention aimed squarely at the knee of Stevie J and the groin, or rather abductor, of Darren Jolly. In fairness, the partnering of the AFL and Federal Govt in launching a PNG AFL taskforce to expand Australian football in the region isn’t really core news for the regular AFL media.
During the week, with the gradual building up of expectation for the fortunes of Geelong and Collingwood at the ‘G on the first Saturday in October, it’s little wonder then that the simultaneous announcements of the AFL and MP the Hon Richard Marles failed to raise much of a profile.
Rugby League's Auckland Warriors’ Shaun Johnson was nearly lost to AFL when he attracted the interest of scouts in 2006. Having been tagged as the next Benji Marshall he is obviously seen as a huge talent in the 13 a side game.
Now 21, the then 16 year old was playing Australian football for the NZ U 16 side at the Barassi Cup in Canberra. Not only did he play but he received the award as NZ’s best at the international tournament. After the carnival in Canberra, Johnson toured the set-up at the Sydney Swans, who had lost that year's AFL grand final to the West Coast by one point under coach Paul Roos.
Across the first weekend of September, the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Mr Richard Marles, was in the Solomon Islands. The Australian High Commission in Honiara released a press release last week stating that Marles met with young Solomon Islands (AFL) footy players, coaches and members of the SIAFL committee. By itself, this is nice, but, on the basis of a gradual build up, Richard Marles in the Solomons is a sign of a growing interest in footy from Australian political circles.