In 2020, AFL New Zealand will see one of its biggest years in the organisations history. With a number of new programmes and tours planned throughout the year, it is an exciting time for AFL in New Zealand.
The International Cup will be held in July/August and New Zealand will field both a Men’s and Women’s side for the first time. In the lead up to this, AFL New Zealand has extended the Women’s Premiership which will be played between February and April.
In March, the Redtails Football Club will touch down in New Zealand to play a Men’s Premiership selection side before the NZ Falcons set off for Melbourne in April to take on the AFL Academy at Marvel Stadium.
Youth Academy: February – April
Over 100 Academy athletes aged between 12 and 17 will participate in skill development, athletic testing and measurement, game play and personal development over an 8 week period starting in February.
From the Academy, AFL New Zealand Academy Level 1, Level 2 and New Zealand U18 Youth Girls teams will be selected consisting of 24 players each to play touring Australian teams in April.
Eligibility for these teams can be found here; National Representation.
Men’s Premiership: February – April
The fifth edition of the AFL New Zealand Premiership will commence the new season on February 9th 2020.
Four teams will compete in the Premiership Season based at North Harbour Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore with a 9 round schedule culminating on April 5th 2020.
The AFL New Zealand Premiership will include talented athletes throughout New Zealand with players flying in to Auckland weekly throughout the competition.
Women’s Premiership: February – April
The AFL New Zealand Women’s Premiership will return in 2020 following on from the successful inaugural competition in 2019.
The Women’s Premiership will take place in conjunction with the current Men’s Premiership and will take place over 3 weekends between February and April.
The female competition will provide the perfect environment for girls transitioning from the Youth Competition formats to senior football and is the next step in finalising the pathway for women to participate in AFL within New Zealand.
Mornington Peninsula JFL tour of NZ: April 4 – 6
The Mornington Peninsula BlueScope Steelers will return to New Zealand for the fourth year at the start of April.
An Under 16 Youth Girls team along with 2 Boy’s sides will play a two match series against the Kahu Youth Girls and the Level 1 and 2 Boy’s teams at North Harbour Stadium in Albany.
The tour has previously held significant links to the ANZAC spirit, accentuating the links that exist between New Zealand and Australia over our histories.
Redtails FC tour of NZ: March 4th
The Redtails Football Club from Central Australia will tour New Zealand in March next year for the first time.
The Redtails Football club aims to create a Football Club incorporating the Right Tracks Program to drive change in the community of Central Australia. It’s main aim apart from participating in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) competition in Darwin is to create a team that gives strong healthy pathways in behaviour, job readiness programs, healthy living and bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Central Australians creating unity and pride throughout Central Australia and beyond. This team allows it’s players to participate only if they are employed, studying or in the Right Tracks Program.
The travelling Red Tails team will play against an AFL New Zealand Premiership Selection.
With the midweek twilight game scheduled for March, so close to the AFL New Zealand Premierships commencement, team selection consideration will include training commitment and preparation.
New Zealand Assistant Coach Justin Davies will take the reins for the match that may be a stepping stone for some players in their bid for International Cup selection. It also opens the doors to those who cannot qualify for the International Cup to gain representative honours within New Zealand for the first time.
NZ Falcons Melbourne Tour: April 22 – 25
The New Zealand Falcons will compete in the annual ANZAC clash against the AFL Academy at Marvel Stadium (formerly Etihad Stadium) in Melbourne on April 26th.
The match traditionally hosted by Wellington’s Sky Stadium for 8 years has been relocated to the home of football for the second year running.
It will be a perfect lead up to the 2020 International Cup in July.
U18 NZ Falcons Melbourne Tour: April 21 – 25
The U18 NZ Falcons will travel to Melbourne in April to play a interleague side from the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League.
This will be the fifth trip to Melbourne for the U18’s and will follow the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League’s tour of New Zealand.
International Cup: July 25 – August 8
The 2020 AFL International Cup (IC20) will be held on the Sunshine Coast from Saturday July 25 through to Saturday August 8.
New Zealand will field both a Men’s (Falcons) and Women’s (Kahu) team for the first time in the competitions history.
The 2020 AFL International Cup will include teams from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Teams will solely comprise of footballers who must be nationals of the country they represent.
No expatriate Australians are eligible to play.