The third edition of the AFL New Zealand Premiership will commence the new season on February 11th 2018.
Four teams will compete in the Premiership Season based at North Harbour Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore with a 9 round schedule culminating in late April.
The AFL New Zealand Premiership will include talented athletes throughout New Zealand with players flying in to Auckland weekly throughout the competition.
In 2016, the Western Crows, who were led by New Zealand head coach Rob Malone were lucky enough to take out the inaugural competition. In 2017, the Southern Saints captained by Michael Boyce, dropped only one game throughout the season and were crowned champions in April earlier this year.
Following on from the first two AFL New Zealand Premiership seasons, a retained players list has been added and tweaked as an additional tool to create balance and competitiveness within the competition. Further information on the new categories and the Retained Player List will be released later this week.
The AFL New Zealand National Draft will also contain changes to the list categories on which potential participants will appear. Once the Retained Players List has been finalised by the Premiership teams, the remaining players who have not been selected will be re-entered along with those new to the competition, into the AFL New Zealand National Draft and will be available for selection by any of the four teams.
The addition of 16 Development players from the 2017 season, now eligible for full selection will provide some exciting insights into the available talent on display. Full details of the National Draft Categories will be announced in the following weeks.
The new Auckland AFL franchise, the Howick Hornets will provide an added component to those available in the National Draft and it is hoped the fledgling club can provide up to 8 players to an already competitive selection table.
The AFL New Zealand Premiership is seen as the perfect opportunity for a higher level competition providing an extension to the traditional regional league seasons spanning between August to December each year.
2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership Season Schedule
Round 1 February 11th 2018
Round 2 February 18th 2018
Round 3 February 25th 2018
Round 4 March 4th 2018
Round 5 March 11th 2018
Round 6 March 18th 2018
Round 7 March 25th 2018
Round 8 April 8th 2018
Round 9 April 15th 2018