Five schools have participated in a successful AFL KiwiKick tournament in the Hutt Valley region.
On a warm sunny day at Trentham Memorial Park, year 5 and 6 students played four competitive games each of AFL KiwiKick.
The sport was new for most of the children, so initially a practice round was held to teach everyone the rules.
AFL New Zealand Wellington Development Manager Sam McKenzie was impressed by how quickly the children picked up the sport.
“The skill level shown by the kids was amazing. There was accurate kicking, great marks and they picked up handballing and bouncing really quickly.”
Due to the high level of skills and gameplay awareness shown by the children, many of the matches were very high-scoring.
Plateau School, Maoribank School and St Joseph’s School had experienced the AFL KiwiKick programme. The other two schools, Fraser Crescent School and Pinehaven School were new to AFL KiwiKick.
St Joseph’s School won the tournament, thanks to their exceptional teamwork. Fraser Crescent School performed well to place second, a fantastic achievement for a school new to AFL KiwiKick. Third place was taken by Maoribank School.
Plateau School and Pinehaven School both improved over the course of the tournament, and played better with each game.
A female player from Maoribank School scored the goal of the tournament, kicking a goal from a distance of 40 metres. Such a distance would be impressive from an adult, let alone a new participant to AFL.
All of the children will get the opportunity to meet again on the AFL field, at the ANZAC Day AFL match in Wellington. Some of the children will play games of AFL KiwiKick during half time of the big game, and all will have the opportunity to receive free tickets to the game.
Some of the teachers who organised their teams will be provided with free tickets to the ANZAC Day match. Sam McKenzie recognised their contribution to the tournament.
“I’d like to thank Chris from St Joseph’s, Erin and Jade from Fraser Crescent School, Donna from Maoribank School, Emma and Richard from Plateau School and Sarah from Pinehaven School. Without them we couldn’t have had this fantastic tournament.”
The support of Sport Wellington and Activation were crucial to the tournament’s success. Both organisations have an impressive history of supporting AFL New Zealand programmes and events.
ANZAC Week will provide a great opportunity for Wellingtonians to get involved in AFL, with events for all.
Have a Go Days will be held on Saturday the 26th at the Basin Reserve, and Saturday the 27th at Hutt Park. The Hutt Park Have a Go Day will be held in conjunction with the 2nd match of the series between the New Zealand Hawks and the South Pacific Academy.
The Under 18 National Championships will also be held on the 24th and 25th of April, and will feature the best young players in New Zealand. Spectators are invited to come and watch the stars of the future play.
With the 2014 AFL season underway, fans in New Zealand can watch all the action on Sommet Sports, the home of AFL in New Zealand. Sommet Sports broadcasts on Channel 14 of the Freeview Network, and on April 14 will launch on Channel 69 of the Sky Network.