5 talking points: Round 1

In a new addition to the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership, each week we will delve into some of the key talking points from the previous round.


After the completion of Round 1, we ask if the Saints are suffering the Premiership hangover, will we see a new goal kicking record, can a midfielder win the competitions Best and Fairest for the first time and what happened to the Giants kicking boots?


Premiership hangover for the Saints?

After their first Premiership in 2017, are the Southern Saints suffering the dreaded ‘Premiership hangover’ in 2018?

The Saints suffered a 42 point defeat to the hands of the Central Giants in round 1 and if their opposition kicked straight, the result could have been a much bigger margin.

2016 Premiers, the Western Crows finished fourth in last years competition and the Saints will have to compose themselves quickly if they want to go back to back in 2018.


Can McKenzie kick his way to the goal kicking record?

After a three goal haul for the Giants in round 1, can highly fancied Golden Boot favourite James McKenzie kick his way to the AFL New Zealand Premiership goal kicking record?

The record is currently held Northern Suns full forward Jordan Drinkall, who kicked 26 goals in season 2017 and if McKenzie keeps his average, he will surpass that record during round 9 on April 15th.


Nahu puts up hand for Best and Fairest!

After a dominant best on ground performance from Blake Nahu (Central Giants) in round 1, it begs the question… Can he win the 2018 AFL New Zealand Best and Fairest award?

The Sucu brothers have had their hands on the trophy for the past two seasons, with Brandon taking it out in 2016 followed by older brother Andriu, who was presented with the torphy at last year’s High Performance Awards.

After putting in the hard yards over the off season in Hamilton, Nahu showed superior speed and strength around the contest and if the 19 year old can continue his form over the season, he could become the first midfielder to become the competitions Best and Fairest winner.


Could the Giants goal kicking woes hurt them in the long run?

Even in wet conditions, kicking 21 behinds in a game takes a lot of effort.

Unfortunately, this was the case for the Central Giants on the weekend.

The side still managed to walk away with a convincing win over the Southern Saints but will need to spend a bit more time practicing their goal kicking at training if they are to convert their opportunities as it could come back to haunt them in closer games.


Future looks bright for New Zealand national sides!

The future of AFL New Zealand National sides looks bright as a number of players under the age of 20 impressed during the opening round of the Premiership.

Declan Crann, Jake Tucker, James Dakin and Tayne Lockwood all played outstanding games and along with showing strong footballing attributes, they also provided leadership to their team.

With New Zealand National head coach Rob Malone watching from the sidelines over the weekend, you can be sure that he took notice of New Zealand’s next superstars.


*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of AFL New Zealand.