The 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership is almost upon us and the fixtures have been finalised. The four teams will return to compete in the Premiership Season based at North Harbour Stadium with a 9 round schedule culminating in April.
The Southern Saints and Central Giants will kick off the season on February 12th, followed by defending premiers, the Western Crows taking on the Northern Suns later that afternoon.
Central Giants Head Coach Rob Malone will look to make an early impression on his new team as they come up against a highly skilled Southern Saints outfit.
Former Northern Suns Head Coach Chris Mundell has taken the reins at the Western in Crows in 2017 and is looking forward to facing up to his old side. “I’m really excited about the new season ahead. The majority of returning players will have stepped up a level from last season and I am ready for the challenge in taking on a new team.”
Some Key Fixtures throughout the season will be in Round 3, where the Western Crows will take on the Southern Saints. Both sides finished first and second in last years competition, but the Crows won all three encounters and the Saints will look to exact revenge this coming season. The Central Giants and Northern Suns will play the last game of the season in Round 9 on April 9th. Both sides, played three epic encounters in 2016 with the Suns got the better of the Giants on two occasions. With some talented recruits drafted to both sides, look for more of the same in 2017.
The Premiership is seen as the perfect opportunity for a higher level competition providing an extension to the traditional regional league seasons spanning between August to December each year.