The New Zealand coaching staff have announced the senior leadership group for the upcoming ANZAC campaign against the AFL Academy at Westpac Stadium on April 24th in Wellington. Andrew Howison will once again Captain the team and will have Samuel McKenzie and Will Gregson by his side as Vice-Captains.
New Zealand vs AFL Academy
Where: Wesptac Stadium, Wellington
When: Tuesday April 24th, 2017
Time: First bounce, 11.30am
Andrew Howison – Captain
Originally hailing from Canterbury, Andrew Howison now resides in Melbourne where he was awarded Best on Ground for Oakleigh Districts in their Premiership win in 2015. Their first win in 30 years. He has also featured regularly in the annual announcement of the AFL New Zealand Heritage team and also received three consecutive Senior player of the year awards with his captaincy and leadership making him a well respected member of our community.
For the Melbourne based New Zealand captain, he understands how important the sport is to the local Melbournians. Howison’s dream is that his side of battling Kiwis can put their own stamp on the game just as Kiwi’s have done with many sports in the past.
Samuel Mckenzie – Vice Captain
Sam is a regular in the New Zealand national side and last year played in his second AFL International Cup in Melbourne. The 29 year old is current Captain of Central Giants in the AFL New Zealand and has recently led them to their first ever Premiership. Sam also Captains local side Mt Roskill Saints in the Auckland AFL and has former ties to the North City Demons in Wellington.
McKenzie was the golden boot runner up during the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership finishing with 20 goals for the season and is a marking forward/midfielder whose contesting marking skill provides him with the ability to play against much bigger defensive opponents and still provide potency with his goal kicking ability.
Will Gregson – Vice Captain
The powerfully built Gregson started his AFL career with the Waitakere Magpies club and travelled through the AFL New Zealand High Performance system initially debuting at international level for the New Zealand Under 18 team.
In 2017 the New Zealand and Central Giants player relocated to Melbourne and has represented the senior New Zealand team over the past five years.
The 24 year old stands at 187cm and has strong aerobic ability as well as good pace off the mark. Recent combine testing has provided strong results with a 3km time trial of 10 min 45 sec, 20 metre sprint at 2.91 seconds and a vertical leap of 88cm. His elite athletic ability has been a solid grounding for his relocation to Melbourne in an environment that has included a massive acceleration in his AFL education.