Kiwis sweep AFL IC World Team
23 Aug, 2017
Five New Zealanders have been named in the 2017 AFL International Cup World Team.
As a testament to their performances over the tournament, Andrew Howison, Ben Hick, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas and James Kusel were all named in the 24 strong team along with Rob Malone, who was named as Head Coach for the World Team.
The selection was made through umpire votes, official team votes and the views of the AFL International Cup Selection Panel and was announced at the 2017 International Cup Gala Dinner held at the Crown Palladium.
The four New Zealanders selected have all had outstanding tournaments and regularly featured among the Best and Fairest nominations.
Andrew Howison has been an inspirational captain once again for New Zealand. Leading from the front, Howison starred in all five games and was rewarded with being named the Captain of the World side. This is his second inclusion into the World Team after his first selection in 2014.
New Zealand midfielder, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas was shocked to hear his named called out when the team was announced. The 19 year old who hails from Northland, was playing in his second cup and showed off his skills and flair in every game with his best performance coming in the game against Fiji at Linen House in Seaford.
In his first International Cup, Northern Suns Captain James Kusel was pivotal in defence for New Zealand. Kusel dominated every opponent he came up against and proved versatile when called upon to move into the ruck or into the forward line.
Also on debut at the International Cup was Ben Hick from the Southern Saints. Hick has been involved in the AFL New Zealand High Performance Programme for ten years and earned a spot in the World Team through hard work and determination in the midfield.