Watkins shines for the Suns to receive Rising Star award

The AFL New Zealand Rising star award for round 2 of the 2016 Premiership has been awarded to James Watkins of the Northern Suns.


The Wellington College student caught the eye of High performance manager Mick Coultard during his game against the Southern Saints during round 2 of the AFL New Zealand Premiership. Playing as a defensive midfielder, James was seen to gather many possessions throughout the game by positioning himself in the correct spot to receive the football.  He has represented the New Zealand Hawks at age group level and proved that at only 17 years of age, he can foot it with the big boys.

james watkins“The exciting attributes of James Watkins is his ability to get into space, go for a run and delivering to a team mate, taking the right option. A great release player. As he continues to develop in the senior format it will be good to see him also winning some contested football.” AFL New Zealand High Performance Manager Mick Coultard


AFL New Zealand had a chat to James during the week.


What School do you attend?

Wellington college.

What kind of sports did you play growing up?

Rugby, golf, swimming, cricket.

How did you get into AFL?

When I was in year 9 at Wellington College, we had designated PE lessons specific to AFL which was introduced by AFL New Zealand. This then lead onto the Hawks Cup which I have attended every year since. Three years ago, I went along to watch the U16 Hawks play at Hutt Park and thought that it would be great to play for a NZ side, so I put my name forward for the High Performance programme and have been lucky to have represented the country at age group level for the past two years.

What do you enjoy about playing AFL?

The main thing I enjoy about AFL is representing my country and meeting a new group of people every year.

What are your goals for AFL in the future?

Future goals would be to continue representing my country and playing for the senior side. I would also like to beat an Australian team.

What do you think your biggest advantage is out on the field?

My biggest advantage would be my fitness so I am able to get around the field for longer periods of time.