The Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League and AFL New Zealand teams have completed Game 1 of the current Aotearoa tour to Auckland.

The Level 1, Level 2 and Youth Girls AFL New Zealand Academy have commenced a 2 game series against three Mornington Peninsula BlueScope Steelers sides at Auckland at North Harbour Stadium.

This is the seventh time players from the Mornington Peninsula have travelled to New Zealand, and the first three days of the tour have been an amazing success. 

The tour has had a variety of cultural, football and friendship experiences available to the travelling teams including;

  • A welcome function on the Friday night arrival of teams uniting New Zealand and Mornington participants in preparation for the tour ahead.
  • Two games for each of three series against New Zealand Representative teams;
    • MPJFL Under 14 Boys versus Level 1 AFL New Zealand Academy in two matches
    • MPJFL Under 15/16 Boys versus Level 2 AFL New Zealand Academy  in two matches
    • MPJFL Youth Girls versus New Zealand Youth Girls in two matches
  • The opportunity to experience the New Zealand Haka as a challenge of respect.
  • Attendance at the AFL New Zealand Awards Dinner Function
  • After match functions with the presentation of awards

Games on day one, completed on Saturday included three victories to the Mornington Peninsula teams against the New Zealand Academy Squads in contests that developed throughout the day.

Continued improvement was the key focus with all teams showcasing progressive skills throughout in trying and windy conditions. Covid cancellations over the past three years have provided a new crop of talented youth to experience international football for the first time. 

Teams and management look forward to Game 2 for all contests, taking place at North Harbour Stadium, Upper Oval, commencing at 10.30am.

An excellent first quarter from the MPJFL U14’s gave them a strong lead to start the game. The NZ Level 1’s, a lot of whom were playing their first ever game, struggled to lock down the opposition early on. But as the game progressed the NZ boys started to understand the game better and manage to lock down the Mornington boys on the defensive end, keeping them to 38 points for the rest of the game.

The Level 1’s continued to improve all the way through the game and in the fourth quarter, they finally had success, scoring through their first goal through Cooper Clark, son of NZ Falcons player Brendan Clark.

The MPJFL Youth Girls have made history, winning their first game against a New Zealand side. In a hard fought match the forward pressure from the Mornington side gave them plenty of opportunities in front of goal, with the girls managing to capitalise on 7 shots.

The New Zealand Youth Girls gave it their all, and with many first timers in the squad. the team are excited to expand on their efforts in the next game.

An exciting game all the way through, the game was tight heading into the final quarter but the Mornington U15/16’s turned on the jets and secured the win for game 1. The Mornington boys played hard on the attack and their speed with the ball make them a very dangerous side with ball in hand.

The Level 2 Boys showed great promise throughout most of the game and are excited to get another crack at the Mornington U15/16’s.