Thanks to the Otara-Papatoetoe local board, AFL New Zealand has successfully run their Youth programme at the Mangere East Hawks Rugby League Club to provide its junior participants with an alternative sport.
AFL New Zealand created its Youth Programme for new players to participate in the sport of AFL.
It has a focus on improving athletes’ skills and fitness within a fun environment. This is achieved through a training, game and development programme that highlights the necessary requirements throughout the pathway.
The Otara-Papatoetoe local board have assisted with funding to help with operational costs associated with the programme.
Beginning on January 23rd and running for 7 weeks, each weekly session includes a combination of skill development – kicking, catching, passing and bouncing – game play and personal development. This combination will lead to a number of opportunities for participants including AFL New Zealand Academy selection, New Zealand representation, National Combine selection, access to talent scouts and AFL International Scholarships.
The successful programme at Walter Massey Park has a been a roaring success, attracting a number of new participants to the sport, with over a third of participants female and 84% with Maori or Pacific background.
The clubs General Manager, Tasha Tasmania is excited that the community have more options to be involved with sport.
“Mangere East Rugby League is proud to partner with AFL, it’s a an opportunity for our youth to learn how to play AFL and builds on key development components of Rugby League. The timing is perfect and will slide in with our coaching and development programs.”
Participant Zedekiah Vea has been learning new skills along with keeping fit.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to learn another sport during the off season and prepare for the upcoming League season. Looking forward to learning new skills from the AFL trainers.”