The Central Giants blew away the competition in 2018 as they stormed to their maiden Premiership with two rounds remaining.
Head coach Izaak Williams along with Captain Sam McKenzie return as a familiar squad assembles for the 2019 season.
The reigning premiers will start the season as favourites as they will look to adopt the same game plan to last year which focused on playing as a team and enjoying their footy.
The addition University Blues midfielder Seb Serrano will add depth to their already experienced midfield while AFL New Zealand Academy graduates Sam Anderson and Ethan Halton were New Zealand’s best during their U18 campaign in Melbourne and will be key additions to the squad.
Back to Back Premierships is looking likely at this stage but it will be up to the Giants to prove that they are the best team in the competition two years running.
Player to watch: Seb Serrano
After missing the 2018 Premiership season due to injury, Serrano returned to play for the University Blues in the Auckland AFL where he was one of their top players.
Tenacious and hard at the contest, the 19 year old is a mature AFL player.
In 2016, Serrano captained the AFL New Zealand Level 2 Academy side against the Peninsula Saints and showed leadership, courage and determination.
With leadership qualities and consistent development, Seb could be a regular name in the senior New Zealand side in years to come.
Get excited: Sam Anderson
Sam played as a development player in 2018 and brings purpose to training and games.
A round 6 rising star award winner, Anderson was part of the U18 squad that travelled to Melbourne in May this year.
Sam is hungry for the footy around the contest and uses his fitness and agility to evade the opposition.
2018 position: 1st
Predicted position in 2019: 1st
2019 Best and Fairest: Harison Manks
*The views expressed in this in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of AFL New Zealand.