Hawks Cup features 13 Schools and 18 teams

AFL New Zealand has diversified the programmes available to Secondary Schools to ensure flexibility that suits the outcomes of the school involved and provides opportunities for students and staff to participate in all facets of AFL.


The Hawks Cup is only one of these programmes but is intertwined with an exciting range of programmes ensuring that our professional staff can work with Secondary Schools to deliver a fun and rewarding experience for girls, boys and teachers.

The ‘Hawks Cup’ is an Inter School competition format for Intermediate, Junior (years 9/10) and Senior (year 11/13) students based on fundamental movement and ball skills for boys and girls.

The programme provides introductory sessions and resources presented by qualified AFL New Zealand employees to introduce a new and dynamic sport to students. The skills of ‘Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce’ are perfectly matched to cross reference any number of sports. The 9 a side format is suitable for rugby size fields and with three reserves per team, team numbers are easy to coordinate.

Cluster tournaments were initiated this week for the Franklin Region, Counties Manuaku & Auckland Regions and the Harbour & Waitakere Regions with the following teams attending;


Franklin Boys;                   Pukekohe White ,Rosehill College, Tuakau, Dilworth School 1, Pukekohe Red, Dilworth School 2


Franklin Girls;                   Pukekohe White, Tuakau, Pukekohe Red


Counties/Auckland;       Southern Cross Campus, Pakuranga College , Rosehill College, Selwyn College


Harbour/Waitakere;      Massey High, Birkenhead College, Rutherford College, Rosmini College, Mangere


The tournaments to date have involved 13 schools and 18 teams with further cluster tournaments to follow. With coaches for all participating teams, the growth of the sport at secondary schools is on the rise.

Initially to recruit and generate interest amongst student, AFL staff engage with Secondary Schools to deliver “Introduction to AFL”. This programme is supported by the four Auckland Regional Sports Trusts as well as Sport Wellington and focuses on the fundamental movement skills using a number of modified games to reach the end product of playing a full game of AFL 9’s.

First time entrant Pakuranga College completed Introduction to AFL before commencing their Hawks Cup Journey and were ably supported in the coaching ranks by Mike Bromby coach of the local club Pakuranga Panthers AFL club to ensure that Club ties are prioritised.


Read more: 2016 Hawks Cup Results


This is a great introduction to AFL and its fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce. The programme can be combined with junior class units of work, linked to curriculum and lead into House rules and Hawks Cup competitions.

Step 2 is to deliver Coaches the Coaches, AFL Leadership & Gateway Programme to schools and teachers to provide an opportunity to achieve accreditation and support the improvement of community capability.

Coach the Coaches takes students through the coaching fundamentals of AFL and the AFL KiwiKick programme. After 6 to 8 practical structured sessions students can assist delivery of the AFL KiwiKick programme in local Primary or Intermediate schools in their area.

Coach the Coaches can and has been used for students being assessed for NCEA achievement standards or NZQA Unit Standards. Coach the Coaches is also available to tertiary institutes. The success of the programmes was specifically evident within the coaching ranks of the latest installment of the Junior Hawks Cup.

Massey High coaches Jolyn Collins and Meretiana Rapana are two current Massey High students who initially participated in the Secondary School Programme at school themselves. Both are now New Zealand age group representatives and in the process of doing their level 1 coaching qualification for AFL.

With the inclusiveness of the programmes, family are encouraged to participate. Jane Collins and mother of Massey coach Jolyn managed one of the youth girls teams and younger brother Aiden is also now participating in the Regional Youth Competition based at QBE Stadium.

AFL Leadership takes on the concept of students provided with leadership skills and the capability of running a tournament within their own school or at local primary and intermediate schools. Sessions focus on the elements of game understanding, coaching, umpiring and game and event management and can link with both House Rules and Hawks Cup programmes.

AFL New Zealand can provide Gateway students with the perfect opportunity to gain experience within the Sports coaching industry delivering the AFL KiwiKick programme to Primary and Intermediate school students within the local community. A number of schools that have been involved in the Hawks Cup have provided AFL New Zealand with employees who now deliver to local primary schools within the vicinity of their previous Secondary School. Shane Leat of Kelston Boys High was a student who went through the Coach the Coaches programme at Kelston, commenced employment with AFL New Zealand, successfully progressed through to the High Performance Programme in a playing capacity, coached the Kelston Boys Hawks Cup team and was fortunate to deliver AFL KiwiKick within his own Primary School.


The Secondary School Hawks Cup programme has produced 20 current players participating in the AFL Premiership in 2016. Due to commence at QBE Stadium in February 2017


The AFL House Rules Programme focusses on providing students with easy access to participate in the new and dynamic sport of AFL. The competition takes place at a venue determined by the school, most often within school grounds. The programme alleviates travel costs for the school and the participants and more importantly provides opportunities to more students beyond the elite school representative teams.

The format is a perfect for competition between classes or houses and can be played by boys, girls or in a mixed format that utilises touch, tag or tackle modifications. It’s a new fun way to get more kids, more active, more often and improve the skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce at the same time.

AFL New Zealand has created the new exciting Youth competition, for boys and girls to compliment the pathway for participants to excel in AFL.

Within the AFL New Zealand Youth competition there is a focus on improving athletes’ skills and fitness along with a training, game and development programme that highlights the necessary requirements throughout the pathway.

Rosmini Old Boy and Rosmini Hawks Cup Coach Sean Mayes showcases another exciting example of inclusion through the Regional Youth Programmes. Formerly involved with Rugby coaching Sean’s interest closely matches the involvement of his son Liam who competes in the Regional Youth Competition. His coaching efforts were mirrored by Rosehill College Hawks Cup Coach Matthew Morling, whose son Ronan also competes in the Regional Youth Competition.

There are currently five regional AFL competitions in New Zealand and six clubs within the local league of the Auckland region.

Every year members of the five leagues have representatives participate in the AFL New Zealand Premiership held from January to April at the completion of regional competitions.

The level of competition is high and the players have an opportunity for selection to the New Zealand national team the New Zealand Hawks.

The Combine programme within Secondary Schools allows participants to take an active role in measuring their performance and undertaking the necessary ingredients to improve on initial results.

Their involvement in monitoring results, performance and improvement can lead to a life time of association with sport and in some cases representative honours.

Following on from school based programmes the AFL New Zealand Academy will improve the skills and fitness of athletes, through a training and development programme.

The Academy consists of three levels:

Level 1: For Athletes that are new entrants to Academy and New Zealand representative pathway

Level 2: For Athletes continuing their Academy and New Zealand representative pathway with their next step U18 New Zealand Hawks or Senior New Zealand Hawks.

Youth Girls: For female athletes to start their New Zealand representative pathway

Academy Athletes are selected from the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition in February of each year with each level containing up to 30 athletes. New Zealand Hawks Academy and Kahu (Youth Girls) teams play touring Australian teams, April each year, with final selection of these teams reduced to 24 athletes at the end of March each year.

The New Zealand Hawks High Performance Programme aims to provide a pathway for participants to excel in AFL. The programme includes national teams that represent New Zealand at both Junior and Senior levels.

Those who gain a passion for the sport are not shy to assist the development of the game with New Zealand Hawks and North Harbour Rugby Representative Mitch Ryan now coaching the Birkenhead College Hawks Cup team. Mitch is a member of local club North Shore Tigers and was keen to maintain a connection with local schools. “Every year our club teams become younger and younger with the Hawks Cup generating interest and supplying us not only with players but also their parents who are playing a massive role in growing our club.”

The AFL International Draft and Scholarship opportunities allow for up to eight players outside of Australia to be listed with each AFL club. The high performance tournaments that involve New Zealand teams are monitored by AFL talent scouts looking to provide opportunities for talented athletes from New Zealand

The AFL Woman’s League is an exciting new competition starting in 2017. It gives female athletes in New Zealand a legitimate pathway to a professional sporting career.

Once again to ensure sustainability, schools are provided with resource kits in conjunction with their contribution towards the project.

AFL New Zealand will provide Professional Development sessions for teachers at no additional charge to the project. Increasing capability within the school also works towards the provision of a sustainable pathway.