Australian based Kiwi, Brendan Clark is the first overseas signing for the 2016 AFL New Zealand Premiership. It is expected that other current New Zealand players based in Australian competitions will follow.
Clark is currently aligned with Maroochydore Roos on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. His addition to the Wild Card Category within the AFL New Zealand National Draft adds a class component and could also lead to an increase in players that are of New Zealand heritage entering into contention.
After a successful stint with Tiwi Bombers in the Northern Territory Football League, Clark pushed for a position with NEAFL Premiers, the Northern Territory Thunder before moving to Queensland.
The Thunder team included several players of New Zealand heritage including their skipper, Cameron Ilett and regular senior players Dean Staunton and Mathew and Lachlan Argus. The players all represented New Zealand at Westpac Stadium, Wellington in the 2014 clash with the AFL Academy, going down narrowly in the last quarter by 4 points.
A member of the past two International Cups campaigns, Clark sees the AFLNZ Premiership as a perfect way to bridge the gap and finally defeat the AFL Academy and its best young talent.
“In previous years the New Zealand team has come together over a short period of time in our off season to prepare for the Academy game. With a full 9 rounds of quality games and opposition, we will have a better chance of getting over the top of these boys.”
AFL New Zealand is currently finalising its representative season with touring teams from four Australian Football Associations expected to visit Auckland and North Harbour Stadium in April next year.[interaction id=”560c5f1474a791dd4b27f7f8″]