The AFL New Zealand Rising star award for round 6 of the 2017 Premiership has been awarded to James Dakin from the AFLNZ Academy.
The Western Springs College student caught the eye of National Youth Manager Mick Coultard in his game against the Southern Saints during round 6 of the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership. Playing as a development player, James has played for both the Western Crows and the Central Giants to get a feel of different game structures. James is still developing his AFL knowledge but uses is fitness and skills to make himself known on the footy field. The 16 year old represented the Level 1 New Zealand Academy side in April 2016 and has been involved with the Youth Competition for the past two season.
“James is making the most of his opportunities in the premiership. He has been executing skills well and making level headed decisions under pressure. The next step for James will be bringing back these learnings into the Academy and representative campaigns helping out the younger boys with their game and understanding.” Mick Coultard.
AFLNZ asked James some questions after the game.
What School do you attend?
Western Springs College in Auckland.
What kind of sports did you play growing up?
I played Soccer from a young age.
How did you get into AFL?
I always knew about the sport and when AFL New Zealand came to my came to my school to run some class session, I really wanted to get involved.
What do you enjoy about playing AFL?
The thing I enjoy most about AFL is getting to learn new skills each week and working as a team.
What are your goals for AFL in the future?
I really want to progress with AFL and try to make a career out of it which would be awesome.
What do you think your biggest advantage is out on the field?
I think my biggest advantage on the field is my fitness. I can run all day and don’t get tired, so I think that’s my best asset.