Bay of Islands College sweep Northland

Bay of Islands College have taken out both the male and female Northland Cluster Senior Hawks Cup.

The competitions were held in conjunction with each other on an overcast day at Kensington Athletic Park, Whangarei.

In the female division, Bay of Islands College were simply too strong for Whangarei Girls High School. AFL New Zealand High Performance Coach Michael Gregson was very impressed at the standard of play.

Bay of Islands College
Bay of Islands College

“Everyone was playing with passion and going hard, and all of them were keen for more.”

After taking a big lead in the first quarter, Bay of Islands College didn’t look back. Across the second quarter, 20 unanswered points were scored. While Whangarei GHS chipped away with goals and behinds through the 2nd half, the final score was 9.8:62-3.3:21.

Bay of Islands College were led by strong performances from Tournament MVP Amber Clarke, and team Best on Ground Wairua Simon-Hau. Amber Clarke is currently part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme.

Whangarei Girls High School
Whangarei Girls High School

Whangarei GHS captain and coach Setareh Brown is also part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, and recently became a New Zealand representative with the Under 18 New Zealand Kahus. Maristar Moana was named Best on Ground for Whangarei GHS.

Setareh Brown was upbeat despite the loss.

“It was great to see so many good sportswomen keen to play AFL.”

Many of the participants in the female Senior Hawks Cup were invited to trial with the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, which offers a pathway for talented athletes to represent New Zealand.

In the male division, Bay of Islands College provided excess players to Dargaville College, to make for a more competitive game. The strength of the Bay of Islands College team will be ominous for other schools planning on competing in the North Island Championships.

Mick Coultard, AFL New Zealand High Performance Manager, commended coaches Lynda Scott and Dave Scott of Bay of Islands College on the strength of AFL at their school.

“They have a real understanding of the pathway and opportunities that are available through AFL, and its fantastic to see they are making the most of them.”

In a close and hard fought match, Bay of Islands College defeated Dargaville College 7.7:49 – 8.8:56. Top performances were made by Southen Smith, Ben Armstrong, Ison Parks and current Under 16 New Zealand representative Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas.

Most impressive about the Bay of Islands College team was their speed, vision and fitness. Two members of the team, Armstrong and Tipene-Thomas, recently recorded exceptional scores in the agility test at the AFL New Zealand National Combine.

Without the support of teachers and coaches, the Hawks Cup could not go ahead. Simon Barnsley coached Dargaville High School, and Sports Coordinator Sarah Watson coached Whangarei Girls High School.

With the Northland Cluster Tournament now completed, attention will turn to the AFL Senior Secondary School North Island Championships. All teams are still eligible to compete in the tournament, which will be held on the 1st of March.