Wellington will once again be AFL central in New Zealand this weekend with Under 16 players coming together from around the country to play in the AFLNZ U16 National Championships.
The cream of New Zealands under 16 talent, identified by AFLNZ talent scouts, have been organised into regional teams to contest this inaugural event. The three teams are:
A New Zealand under 16 side will be chosen from this Championship to compete in the South Pacific tournament involving Papua New Guinea and an Oceania team in Townsville, Queensland, Australia this April. From there players can be selected to play for the South Pacific team to compete in the Australian Under 16 Championship.
All games to be played at Hutt Park, Lower Hutt.
Saturday 23rd, April 2013
2.15pm Game 1 Giants vs Eagles
3.45pm Game 2 Eagles vs Suns
Sunday 24th, April 2013
10.00am Game 3: Giants vs Suns
11.15am Game 4: Giants vs Eagles
1.30pm Game 5: Eagles vs Suns
2.45pm Game 6: Suns vs Giants
The U16 NZ Hawks have participated in the Oceania Cup in 2009, 2010 & 2011. The tournament has provided a great opportunity for New Zealand’s talented young athletes to showcase themselves in the hope of securing an AFL career. The results have been rewarding with International Scholarships presented to Rhys Panui-Leth, Ben Miller, Shem Tatupu and Charlton Brown over the three years of involvement with this competition.
The 2011 Oceania Cup in Fiji saw the U16 NZ Hawks successful in their campaign for the first time. The strength of Papua New Guinea and New Zealand has seen a transition in the format of competition. New Zealand’s direct entry into the South Pacific Cup is successful step in the development of the sport for this age group as well as increased competition for the team.
The 2012 team has been selected through the AFL NZ Combine Programme, NZ Hawks High Performance Programme as well as participation in the AFL NZ U16 National Championships held in Wellington.
The AFL NZ Combine Programme was completed in January with 40 star athletes attending the National Combine held in Wellington on January 24thearlier this year. AFL scouts from a variety of clubs attended the event with a further two international scholarships allocated to Siope Ngata from the Hawthorn Football Club and Maia Westrupp with the Melbourne Football Club.
From this tournament, AFL New Zealand is hopeful of providing the South Pacific Under 16 team with a large number of representatives that will participate in the Australian National Championships later this year.