In a historic move, the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League (MPJFL) and AFL New Zealand have launched an unprecedented exchange program, transcending borders and fostering international collaboration.
Breaking new ground, AFL NZ’s rising star, Cooper Clark, is set to make history as the first player from New Zealand to participate in the program. Clark’s selection for the South Mornington Junior Football Club (SMJFC) U14s team marks a significant milestone for the exchange programs expansion.
Excitement is brewing in the MPJFL as preparations are underway to warmly welcome Clark and provide him with an unforgettable experience. The Mornington League is going the extra mile to secure tickets for Clark, his father, and his SMJFC U14s teammates to witness the Melbourne vs. Brisbane clash at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on a Friday night with an aim to expose Clark to the grandeur of Australian Rules Football on one of its most revered stages.
Across the Tasman Sea, talented players from the Mornington Peninsula, will be selected and commence gearing up for their journey to New Zealand. Their inclusion as Development Players in the prestigious 2024 AFL New Zealand Premiership highlights the reciprocal nature of the program. Representing the MPJFL, the selected players versatility and lightning-fast speed will impress New Zealand audiences.
CEO of AFL New Zealand, Robert Vanstam, emphasises the Premiership’s significance, offering New Zealand’s elite players a meaningful competition without relocating to Australia. Vanstam looks forward to attracting more Australian players, further enriching the sport’s development in New Zealand.
As the exchange program forges ahead, these young athletes embrace the opportunity to transcend borders, exchange skills, and create lasting memories in the world of Australian Rules Football. The program’s success lies in its ability to unite nations through sport, fostering collaboration and friendship between Australia and New Zealand.
Moving forward with the AFL exchange program, plans are underway for individuals from the New Zealand Kahu team visit to Mornington. The duration of stay can vary from a short stay to a longer stay dependent upon the securing of employment in Australia and the commencement of tertiary study. The aim is to align visits with the football season, ensuring an immersive experience.
Accommodation arrangements are being considered, taking into account the limitations posed by the length of stay, with discussions revolving around compensating a host through a prearranged agreement involving rent and food.
The AFL exchange program is aimed at providing transformative experiences, fostering cross-cultural connections and a shared love for Australian Rules Football.