New Zealand Under 16 representative, Jackson Rolleston has been signed to play in the 2016 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
With his 17th birthday only days away, Rolleston is expected to be one of the youngest players in the competition after showcasing great potential. It is hoped that his exposure to this level of competition along with other young players, will fast track their development and further their chances of securing an International Scholarship in later years.
Currently attending the Tai Wānanga Ki Ruakura in Hamilton, Rolleston was first identified at a Regional Testing Combine hosted by the Hawthorn Football Club in 2013 and has since been involved in the AFL New Zealand Academy.
AFL New Zealand High Performance Manager Mick Coultard will target more young talent to be added to those available for the AFL New Zealand National Draft, over the coming weeks.
“Jackson is only one of a group of very talented young athletes that will make an impact on the AFL New Zealand Premiership in February. We have targeted a select group of younger talent throughout the country who we feel will benefit from linking with experienced, seasoned players. It will be a tough competition for players such as Jackson, but we will be closely monitoring their workloads in conjunction with the respective coaches.”
Three specific categories have been included within the AFL New Zealand National Draft to target players born 1998 or younger. Each of the four teams; Western Crows, Northern Suns, Southern Saints and Central Giants will have the opportunity to select a limited amount of draft picks from these groups.
The categories for those born 1998 or younger, will be divided into Auckland based, Satellite based (Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Northland) and regionally based (Wellington, Canterbury & Dunedin).
The remaining AFL New Zealand National Draft categories including senior players (born 1997 and older) will make up the bulk of available draft choices.