Who will wear the Silver Fern? – Part 4
10 Dec, 2018
As preparations commence for the New Zealand v AFL Academy clash at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on April 27th, we will work through a list of talented candidates in the mix to make an impact for New Zealand against the Australian team.
Players already named in the 2020 International Cup Squad will all come into contention. The upcoming 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership could also provide the coaching staff with some answers.
The successful 2018 Under 18 New Zealand team, the 2017 International Cup squad, an impressive contingent of Australian based players and a host of debutants in the 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership, will all play a part in what is expected to be the most competitive selection process in recent memory.
Current New Zealand Captain Andrew Howison will look to lead the side out onto Marvel Stadium on April 27th in what will be an historic occasion.
Originally hailing from Canterbury, now resides in Melbourne where where he has won Premierships for Oakleigh Districts and the Dromana Football club in the last three years.
Featured regularly in the annual announcement of the AFL New Zealand Heritage team, Andrew also received three consecutive Senior player of the year awards.
For the Melbourne based New Zealand captain, he understands how important the sport is to the local Melbournians. Howison’s dream is that his side can put their own stamp on the game just as Kiwi’s have done with many sports in the past.
“It’s always an honour to put on the black guernsey and this time it will have special meaning playing in such an iconic stadium. Some of the group have been lucky enough to play in some outstanding venues previously, so this will be just as exciting. This is a fixture the players really look forward to each year and we hope to field a super strong side in 2019 and cause a boil over in a contest where they have been fairly dominant. I can’t wait to get into camp with the lads and look forward to the challenge.”
Key forward Connor Ballenden was drafted by the Brisbane Lions at the 2017 AFL Draft.
With New Zealand heritage, Ballenden’s size, marking ability and prowess around the goal was underlined at the 2017 NAB AFL Combine.
At 198cm tall, Ballenden won the kicking test, being the only prospect to kick a perfect score from six kicks.
In 2016, Ballenden travelled to New Zealand with the AFL Academy to take on the New Zealand National side at QBE Stadium in Albany, Auckland.
NZ superstar Misilifi Faimalo will be pushing hard for a spot in the 2019 ANZAC squad.
The 2018 AFL New Zealand Under 18 Player of the year has been a regular in the senior side over the past 2 years and is an exciting young talent from Wellington who is lightning fast on the footy field.
First introduced to the game through the AFL Cup Secondary Schools competition, Misilifi‘s pace, skills and evasiveness shows why he is one of the top players in NZ.