Wellington based James Kusel was named today to lead the Northern Suns in the 2016 AFL New Zealand Premiership commencing in February.
Currently player coach with the Hutt Valley Eagles based in the Wellington AFL competition, Kusel has a playing career that stretches back over a ten year period. Debuting for New Zealand in 2006, Kusel faced a baptism of fire at the Australian Country Championships as a young key forward at only 17 years of age. His success in rugby at both the traditional format and sevens within the Wellington region, has resulted from his abilities to transition skills from the two codes.
A career with several severe injuries has not phased Kusels passion to maintain a connection and excellence with both sports. His return to the New Zealand team against the AFL Academy in 2013 showcased strength and power, mixed with a great skill base.
“Balancing the two sports has been difficult over the years but I’m impressed with the new format of the AFL New Zealand Premiership. There are a lot of talented athletes that play two codes that would love to give AFL a crack but there are limits that make it difficult. The ability for these guys to be involved for a portion of the 9 rounds will add to the standard and the opportunities.”
Northern Suns coach Chris Mundell was over the moon with the appointment of Kusel.
“James presence and mana will be an immense benefit to the Suns. Within a short period of time he will have a team that will respond to his leadership and follow him.”
The coaching experience that Kusel has will also add to the impact he has with the Northern Suns both on and off the field.