Falcons fall short against marvellous Academy side
29 Apr, 2019
The New Zealand Falcons have fallen short against the AFL Academy as they were defeated in their annual ANZAC clash at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday.
It is the eighth encounter between the two sides and the first played at Marvel Stadium.
Shane Leat led a spine tingling Haka which echoed around the impressive 60,000 seat stadium before the match got underway.
The Academy were on the attack from the first bounce and had three early shots but were inaccurate in front of goal.
New Zealand withheld most of the pressure and managed to get the ball moving forward. Full forward Shem Tatupu took a strong mark inside 50 and kicked to a pack where Misilifi Faimalo got the first goal of the match.
In front by 7 points at quarter time, the home side came out firing in the second quarter as they kicked 7 goals to 1 as they took control of the game with terrific ball skills and fast running. New Zealand were trying their best in defence but couldn’t find the answer.
Andriu and Brandon Sucu combined well in the backline for the majority of the match as the brothers both made their opponents work hard.
New Zealand debutant Max Urwin had a game to remember as the 17 year old kicked his first goal wearing the Silver Fern and was awarded best on ground after having a strong game playing off the half forward line.
New Zealand managed to win the third quarter as big Shem Tatupu dominated up front. He kicked three goals for the quarter taking strong contested marks and showed why he is playing in the VFL this season.
NT Thunder star Cameron Ilett picked up 23 disposals for the match playing on the ball and was among the best for the Falcons.
Ruckman Aaron Harris was also best for New Zealand as he was involved around the contest and his defensive pressure was causing headaches for the Academy.
Superior fitness and speed was the difference in the end as the AFL Academy ran out 75 point winners.
The contest is the centerpiece of the Falcon’s five-day trip to Melbourne, which also included touring the St Kilda Football Club, attending the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance and attending the ANZAC Day AFL clash between Essendon and Collingwood in front of 93,000 passionate fans.
AFL Academy: Hollands 3, Phillips, Trew, Gulden, Campbell, Durdin 2, Edwards, Henry, Davies, McDonald 1.
NZ Falcons: Shem Tatupu 4, Misilifi Faimalo, Mykelti Lefau, Max Urwin.
AFL Academy: Will Phillips.
NZ Falcons: Aaron Harris, Max Urwin, Shem Tatupu, Cameron Ilett.