AFL is gaining momentum as a sport in Auckland Central region following the success of a KiwiSport funded project focussing on Secondary School participation.
The project is part of the KiwiSport initiative and is in partnership with Sport Auckland and AFL New Zealand. The pathway for participants within the project commences with the delivery of a selection of Secondary School programmes including taster sessions, opportunities to compete in school at class and house level and finally school representative opportunities.
The Introduction to AFL programme was delivered to over 2250 students at eight Auckland schools (Selwyn College, Glendowie College, Western Springs College, St Heliers School, Baradene College, Marist College, Mount Roskill Grammar) during the past eighteen months.
In Term 4 of 2017, Glendowie College Year 9 students completed the Introduction to AFL programme followed by the AFL House Rules programme. The AFL House Rules Programme focuses on providing students with easy access to participate in the new and dynamic sport of AFL. The competition takes place at a venue determined by your school, most often within your own school grounds. This alleviates travel costs for the school and the participants and more importantly provides opportunities to more students beyond the elite school representative teams.
The format is a perfect for competition between classes or houses and can be played by boys, girls or in a mixed format that utilises touch, tag or tackle modifications. It’s a new fun way to get more kids, more active, more often and improve the skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce at the same time.
Glendowie Sport Coordinator, Jeremy Adams was excited about having AFL House rules taking place as an alternative sport for the students to learn.
Outside of school time, opportunities continue with the pathway leading to the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition that runs from October to December each year.
Further opportunities exist for participants to be selected in the AFL New Zealand Academy which focuses on improving the skills and fitness of athletes through use of a training and development programme. From the AFL New Zealand Academy, the next step is the selection process for National Representative teams, with the project producing six students (Quinn Pocock, James Dakin, Issac Piper, Valentina Serrano, Killarney Morey and Jasmine Paki) from the Auckland region who have completed the pathway and now represent their country in the sport of AFL.
Western Springs College student, James Dakin (pictured above) is one that has completed the pathway representing New Zealand at U18 level and the AFL New Zealand Academy Level 2. James is looking forward to his next challenge in the pathway getting his AFL Level 1 coaching qualification and coaching a Junior team in the Secondary School AFL Cup from Western Springs College.
If you would like to find out more about how you can get your school involved, contact Mick Coultard, AFL New Zealand Youth Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 213 3251.