The annual AFL New Zealand High Performance Awards took place at the Mac’s Function Centre on Wellington’s Waterfront.
With over 250 guests in attendance, the night was a celebration for all things AFL in New Zealand.
Congratulations to the following award winners for 2018.
AFLNZ Rising Star Award – Doug McJorrow
He was named best on ground for New Zealand against the NSW Independent Schools side and has great speed and skill execution.
At such a young age, Doug will continue to develop his game and has the potential to be the next Andrew Howison.
U17 Player of the Year – Declan Crann
A player full of talent with a strong AFL build, Declan has supreme fitness and was awarded a Rising Star during the 2017 Premiership before being drafted by the Central Giants in 2018.
Declan will be making his senior debut in the New Zealand Senior side on Tuesday.
U18 Player of the Year – Misilifi Faimalo
The 18-year-old made his International Cup debut last August and was a key contributor in all five games.
Misilifi made the move to the Southern Saints in this year’s AFL New Zealand Premiership, teaming up with fellow nominee Josh Morgan-Ranui.
First introduced to the game through the AFL Cup Secondary Schools competition, Misilifi shows excellent pace, skills and evasiveness and shows why he was a standout at the 2017 AFL International Cup.
Volunteer of the Year – Mitchell Ryan
The 24 year old was the first ever coach of a New Zealand team to win a series over a touring Australian side when the AFLNZ Youth Girls defeated the Mornington Peninsula Youth Girls over ANZAC weekend.
Mitch has also given up his time to help coach local North Shore Secondary School sides in the AFL Cup.
Mitch volunteered his time to help at the Youth Competition and was Assistant Coach of the Auckland NPC side who won back to back titles in December last year.
Coach of the Year – Rob Malone
Former St Kilda listed player Rob Malone is the head coach of the New Zealand Senior side and steered the team to the 2017 AFL International Cup Grand Final against Papua New Guinea on the MCG last August.
He has been involved with coaching in New Zealand for over 12 years and is an asset to our community.
Rob was named as the head coach of the prestigious International Cup ‘World Team’ and took out the AFL New Zealand Coach of the year award in 2017.
Women’s Player of the Year – Killarney Morey
Killarney Morey from Epsom Girls Grammar in Auckland was Co-Captain of the New Zealand Youth Girls in 2017 and awarded Best on Ground against the Mornington Peninsula Youth Girls in their first game at Hutt Park.
Killarney was selected by AFL New Zealand and Tasmania to represent the state at the 2017 AFLW National Youth Girls Champs in Adelaide and is only the second Kiwi to do so.
Men’s Player of the Year – Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas
Originally hailing from Northland and now based in Hamilton, Te Kopa was one of the in form players during the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership and continued this form when he made his second appearance at the AFL International Cup in August.
The 20-year-old has previously been the recipient of two U16 player of the year’s awards and it is his first time nominated in this category.
His exceptional performance at this year’s International Cup earned him a spot in 2017 World Team as one of the best 22 players at the tournament.