St Paul’s College have taken out the Auckland Senior Hawks Cup, beating Marcellin College and Western Springs College in the process.
The superior match experience of the St Paul’s College team showed through, in two strong performances over the tournament.
On a gloriously sunny afternoon at St Paul’s College, there were notable performances by players from all teams. As Mick Coultard of AFL New Zealand noted, some of the participants could one day aspire to represent New Zealand at AFL.
The day began with Marcellin College challenging the hosts. St Paul’s College were too strong across both halves, taking the game 5.6:36 – 0.2:2 with a powerful defensive effort.
The next match was between Marcellin College and Western Springs College. In a tough contest, with both teams steadily improving, it was Western Springs who ran out winners. The final score was 1.3:9 – 3.4:22.
The final match saw two teams with one win each facing off for the title. St Paul’s began at a furious pace, holding on to both territory and possession to run up an early lead. At halftime the score stood at 5.2:32 – 0.0:0.
Western Springs looked to fight back, and did manage to set up scoring opportunities. However, they were unable to hold back St Paul’s, who continued to run rampant, winning the match 9.3:57 – 0.2:2.
A feature of the play of St Paul’s was their ability to create space through running leads. This allowed them to attack at will, with the ball carrier always having passing options. The tactic was evidence of a strong game sense, built up through competing in Junior and Senior Hawks Cup tournaments over a number of years.
With the tournament concluded, Best on Grounds were awarded for each team. Abraham Swanson earned the honour from Western Springs, and Alex Petelo was received the award for Marcellin. Sam Filimoeatu was declared the Best on Ground for St Paul’s College.
Invitations to trail for the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme were also given to various players. Some participants in the competition are already part of the programme.
Rawiri Milne from Western Springs College was one such player, and spoke about his excitement about attending the upcoming Under 16 National Championships, to be held in March in Wellington. From that tournament, players can gain selection in the Under 16 New Zealand Hawks.
Without the support of coaches and teachers, the Senior Hawks Cup could not go ahead. Mike Jarvis managed the victorious St Paul’s College team, which was also supported by Joe Cunningham.
Scott Greenwood stepped up for Western Springs College, managing their side. Marcellin College were managed by Gary Sullivan.
Attention now turns to the AFL Senior Secondary School North Island Championships, to be held on March 1st. All teams are eligible for entry into this competition, which will include schools that feature current New Zealand representative players.