Wellington based James Kusel will again lead the Northern Suns for the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership season commencing in February at QBE Stadium in Auckland.
Kusel had an uninterrupted Premiership season where he lead the Suns to three wins in the competition with the highlight coming in Round 4 when his side upset an undefeated Western Crows side by 30 points.
“The 2016 Suns squad was full of young talent and with the opportunity to retain a base of players, that talent will have gained an immense amount of experience during the season and will come back even stronger and wiser in 2017”
James is 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.
“There were a number of Wellington players who played in this year’s competition and with the local season about to kick off, it will be great to see the development those players received by playing with the best players from around the country in the Premiership.”
The 2016 Premiership has not only unearthed young talent, but also opened up the door for regional players to shine on the big stage.
“Last year, we had a virtual unknown in Tim Stokes who played for the Suns and ended up making the NZ Hawks side to play against the AFL Academy in April this year. I think there are number of players in the Wellington local competition that could do the same and will keep an eye out for those that can be entered into the draft”
With all the Captains now announced make sure to keep an eye out next week for more information regarding the competition.