2018 AAFL mid season review

03 Oct, 2018

At the halfway mark of the 2018 Auckland AFL season, we take a look at each of the clubs to see how they are faring so far in the competition.

 

The University Blues and Mt Roskill Saints have been the standouts so far while defending premiers, North Shore Tigers are feeling the effects of the premiership hangover.

 

University Blues

Current position: 1st

 

The season so far:

University have surprised everybody in 2018. Labelled ‘Dad’s Army’, the Blues are the only unbeaten left in the competition and are playing some great footy. Their recent win over a highly talented Mt Roskill Saints side proves that they are the real deal this season and are the new favourites to win the league for the first time since 2015.

 

Whats working:

Everything! University have class in every position and it is showing on the scoreboard. They have redesigned the way they play and are sticking to their gameplan. James Considine has been a key target up front for the Blues with young talent Lachlan Salmon having a breakout season.

 

Best players:

James Considine

Sam Anderson

Lachlan Salmon

Patrick Landy

 

Grade: A+

 

Predicted Finish: Premiers

 

Mt Roskill Saints

Current position: 2nd

 

The season so far:

After only winning three games in 2017, the Saints revival has been a pleasure to watch so far this season. A team full of talent, the Saints have all areas of the park covered. Mt Roskill stunned the North Shore Tigers in round one winning by four goals and fought a hard battle against University in Round five going down by two goals in a thrilling match. The Saints will learn from the loss to the Blues and head into the second half of the season full of confidence.

 

Whats working:

Attack! Attack! Attack! The Saints have been hot on attack all season kicking an average of 85 points per game. Not only are the forwards doing their job but their backline consisting of Hamish Mackay, Tim Hollingsworth, Alastair Maisey and Lachie Stewart are working hard in every game.

 

Best players:

James McKenzie

Lachie Stewart

Mitch Smith

Sam McKenzie

 

Grade: A

 

Predicted Finish: Runners up

 

Waitakere Magpies

Current position: 3rd

 

The season so far:

The 2017 runners up had a slow start to the season, opening with a draw against Howick in round one followed by back to back losses to Mt Roskill and University. The Magpies found their groove in round five when they upset the North Shore Tigers in a replay of last year’s Grand Final.

 

Whats working:

The Magpies have been patient in getting their game plan right during the first half of the season and haven’t panicked when they have found themselves behind on the scoreboard. Carlos Donnell-Brown, Declan Crann, Shane Leat along with Eugene Hanna are a strong midfield who gain a number of centre clearances and deliver quality football into the Pie’s forward line.

 

Best players:

Carlos and Nico Donnell-Brown

Zac King

Jordan Pereira

Shane Leat

 

Grade: B –

 

Predicted Finish: 5th

 

North Shore Tigers

Current position: 4th

 

The season so far:

So far this season, it hasn’t been the Tigers of old. In fact it’s been quite the opposite. The defending champs were unstoppable in 2017, winning their first Premiership in ten year’s but are a shadow of their former selves in season 2018. The Tiger’s were outclassed against University and Mt Roskill and scraped home against Howick before losing at home to Waitakere in round five. With key defender Andriu Sucu out with a broken hand for the next six weeks, they will need to up their game if they are to defend their title.

 

Whats working:

When the Tigers are at full strength, they are hard to beat. Key position players Andriu Sucu (back), Josh Cunliffe (midfield) and Rob Mostert (Forward) create a solid spine and help develop the younger players around them.

 

Best players:

Ty Smith

Josh White

Jake Tucker

Josh Cunliffe

 

Grade: C –

 

Predicted Finish: 4th

 

Howick Hornets

Current position: 5th

 

The season so far:

The Howick Hornets have shown plenty of potential during the first half of the season and can consider themselves unlucky that they haven’t got a few more wins under their belt. They showed they can match it with the best with a draw against Waitakere in round one before narrowly missing out on a win against North Shore in round three when they went down by fifteen points. It will be a strong second half to the season for Howick as they look to make the finals for the first time.

 

Whats working:

Club culture. This is a club on the up due to what they are doing off the field. Pre-Season camps, fantastic clubrooms and a desire to build a ‘Club’, Howick are getting the small things right. Add recruiting top talent into the mix and a Premiership is on the Hornets cards within the next three years.

 

Best players:

Pete Jones

Travis Walker

Jay Green

Harley Jenkins

 

Grade: B

 

Predicted Finish: 3rd

 

Manurewa Raiders

Current position: 6th

 

The season so far:

It has been a tough start to the season for the Manurewa Raiders. They have suffered some big losses to the hands of Mt Roskill and North Shore and have kicked an average of 16.2 points per game. Not for a lack of trying, the Raiders head into each round looking to develop their game and with a younger squad with a small amount of experience, look for Manurewa to build in the second half of the season.

 

Whats working:

Manurewa’s commitment to learn and develop is the best part about their season. They have shown glimpses of what they can do in patches and can work hard from knowing what they can produce when they play to their potential.

 

Best players:

Ray Castle

Sean Andrews

Ash Thompson

 

Grade: C –

 

Predicted Finish: 6th

 

Story – Auckland AFL

 

About the author

Tom

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