The 2018 AFL New Zealand National Men’s and Women’s Combines has been held successfully, showing talented athletes the many opportunities that are available through AFL.
Talent scouts from a majority of AFL clubs were in attendance at the ASB Indoor Centre in Wellington, viewing young athletes to potentially sign to AFL International Scholarships.
With one New Zealander currently on International Scholarships with AFL clubs, and a further Kiwi having graduated from the programme to being elevated to their club’s rookie list, a real opportunity exists for New Zealanders who wish to make a career out of AFL.
National Combine participants were invited to attend based on their potential at the AFL Academy held around the country from February to April of this year. The top 30 athletes who have been involved with the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme were invited to attend.
The AFL New Zealand Combine programme primarily tests athletic skills. Participants are tested in the 20-metre sprint, vertical leap and 20-metre agility test, before running through drills that test AFL specific skills. The day concludes with all participants competing in a Yo-Yo Test.
Northlander Blake Williamson was the winner of the Yo-Yo test reaching level 21.5 while Caleb MacPherson from Canterbury took out the 20m sprint and the the agility test.
Gabriel King from Hutt Valley High School was invited to this year’s combine for the first time. Gabriel is the cousin of current St Kilda International Scholarship holder Barclay Miller and managed to record the highest standing vertical leap.
It was only the second ever Women’s combine and New Zealand Female Player of the Year Killarney Morey won both the Yo-Yo test (Level 16.4) and agility test (8.35 seconds).
The Regional and National Combines are an important element of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, which also includes training, match and development elements. Opportunities exist for the best athletes to represent New Zealand at AFL, an honour that a small number of Combine participants have achieved at age group level.
2018 Men’s Results:
Standing Vertical Leap: 65cm – Gabriel King
Running Vertical Leap: 79cm – Manny Snooks
20m Sprint: 8.11 seconds – Caleb MacPherson
Agility Test: 7.89 seconds – Caleb MacPherson
Yo-Yo Test: 21.5 – Blake Williamson
2018 Women’s Results:
Standing Vertical Leap: 52cm – Kylie McGahan
Running Vertical Leap: 67cm – Jaimee Wyatt
20m Sprint: 3.17 seconds – Valentina Serrano
Agility Test: 8.35 seconds – Killarney Morey
Yo-Yo Test: 16.4 – Killarney Morey