The Southern Saints relocation to Canterbury for the 2022 Premiership Season has impacted on the relevance of the upcoming National Draft system.
The importance of a Christchurch training hub for the Saints will see the club forego its involvement in the upcoming draft with a priority on securing locally based players to make up the bulk of the Southern Saints squad.
The Saints have secured the services of Haydn Johnston and Josh Mackie from Otago as well as Keegan Wilson from Oamaru for the 2022 Premiership season to meet AFL New Zealand squad selection guidelines but will now shift its focus to Canterbury to complete its list requirements.
Southern Saints Team Manager Ricky Van Olphen commented;
“We will continue to meet our obligations to help in the development of regional areas outside the main hubs of Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington but we need to access players that can make significant contributions at our designated Christchurch training hub. This will be the key to our goal to win the 2022 AFL New Zealand Premiership ”
The Northern Suns commitment to a North Auckland training hub and the Central Giants focus on Wellington will also likely impact on this years National Draft.