NZ U18’s secure historic first win in Australia

12 May, 2018

The 2018 New Zealand U18 side have created history by winning their first ever game on Australian soil after a thrilling contest against a highly talented Mornington Peninsula Interleague side.

 

New Zealand never gave up and withstood a heap of attacking pressure in the final minutes to clinch a five point victory. 

Playing their second game of the tour, the group focused on improving on their performance from Wednesday night’s game and concentrating on the way they wanted to play.

After another spine-tingling Haka, New Zealand were first on the scoreboard after Quinn Pocock snapped a great goal and Devin Pullyblank quickly backed that up three minutes later to make two in a row.

With the momentum on our side, the U18’s capitalised as Dan Howie and Luke Williams kicked another two goals to go into the quarter time break leading by three goals.


Kicking with the wind in the second quarter, the home side clawed themselves back into the game kicking four unanswered goals to level the scores right on halftime.

Jevaan Croft had an outstanding game. The 16 year old’s calmness around the contest was inspiring and his effective disposals to get his team out of trouble was impressive all game.

Midfielder James Dakin continues to impress and develop his game. Dakin put in a number of running efforts throughout the game and created multiple chances in the middle of the ground.

Misilifi Faimalo played a role off the half back flank and made a massive impact. Running out from defence, Faimalo’s speed and evasiveness showed why he is one of the best players in New Zealand and was even rewarded with a goal in the third quarter.


Sam Anderson backed up Faimalo’s goal with a major of his own in the third quarter and with the back line keeping the home side scoreless, New Zealand gave themselves a 15 point lead heading into the final quarter.

Vice Captain Hayden Johnston played his best game of his AFL career to date playing at full back. Johnston wasn’t beaten in a one on one contest all game and was awarded New Zealand’s best on ground.

It was a tense final few minutes in the last quarter with MPJFL applying a heap of attacking pressure but New Zealand withstood the charge and showed patience and maturity to hold onto a thrilling five point victory.

Goals:

Quinn Pocock, Devin Pullblank, Luke Williams, Daniel Howie, Misilifi Faimalo, Sam Anderson

Best on Ground:

Hayden Johnston, James Dakin, Misilifi Faimalo, Jevaan Croft, Josh Morgan-Ranui, Josh Mackie

AFL New Zealand would like to acknowledge the hard work of MPJFL President Andrew Souter and his team on making this trip possible and providing the opportunity to play against quality opposition.

Thanks to all the supporters who made the trip over and cheered on the team and to everyone back home showing their support online..

A big thanks to Richard Brennan, Shem Tatupu, Andrew Howison, Will Gregson, Tristan Burnett and Barclay Miller.

 

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