Aorere College have confirmed their skill in AFL with a triumphant performance at the Greater Auckland Female Senior Hawks Cup.
In a tournament that featured current New Zealand representatives, Western Springs College and Green Bay High School couldn’t quite keep up with Aorere.
However, the tournament was notable for the high skill level and tactical play shown by all teams, a good sign for future of female AFL in New Zealand.
In the first match of the day, Western Springs College came up against Green Bay High School. In a low scoring thriller, both teams fought hard for points. Western Springs kicked goals at crucial moments to emerge with a narrow victory, 2.1:13 – 0.6:6.
In the next game Aorere College entered the field, taking on Western Springs. Western Springs were confident going into the match, and made much of the early running. At half time, they held a razor thin lead, 2.1:13 – 2.0:12.
However, Aorere College broke the shackles in the 2nd half, thanks to strong performances from their key players. Kicking 5 goals across the period and holding Western Springs scoreless, they secured a 7.2:44 – 2.1:13 victory.
With one match to play, Green Bay High School were still in contention to pull off an upset victory. They fought hard to keep their chance alive. At half time, there was only one goal separating the teams, with the score 2.1:13 – 1.1:7 to Aorere College.
It proved to be enough for Aorere to hang on to, even though Green Bay High School outscored their opposition over the half. Despite having fewer scoring opportunities, Aorere College were determined enough to emerge with a hard fought win. The final score was 3.1:19 – 2.4:16.
One of the most heartening aspects of the tournament was the presence of AFL New Zealand High Performance players, including some who have represented their country as part of the Under 18 New Zealand Kahus. The Under 18 New Zealand Kahus made history in 2013 as New Zealand’s first female national representatives in AFL.
Aorere College were well served by New Zealand Kahus players, with a squad that included Hope Schuster and Marie Aleni. Western Springs College players Kayla Paniora and Natalie Matatia also held that honour.
Best on Ground Awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament. Justice Maniapoto from Aorere College, Krystal Williams from Western Springs College and Lily Koha from Green Bay High School all received awards. Faith Schuster was awarded the Tournament MVP.
Without the support of volunteers and teachers, the Greater Auckland Senior Hawks Cup would not have been possible. Each squad had a strong support team, that ensured the tournament was successful.
From Aorere College, teachers Drew Dunn and Jacob Sargison coached and managed the team respectively, with parent Ben Aleni providing assistance as a goal umpire and logistical support for the team.
Western Springs College also featured two teachers in coaching roles, Peter Bircham and Scott Greenwood. They were also fortunate to have Noradene Paniora, a recent team manager of the Under 18 New Zealand Kahus, involved in the same role. Green Bay High School were coached and managed by John Lipscombe.
With the tournament now complete, players involved in the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme can begin preparing for new and exciting challenges.
One of these will be to gain selection into the New Zealand Kahus team for the International Cup in August, which will be the first time an Open Age female team will have entered the prestigious tournament from New Zealand. The other major fixture this year will be the proposed return of the Australian Youth Girls, in October.