The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award will be awarded weekly to a standout young player in the 2021 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
Each week the award will be allocated to those who show ability that favours the core components it takes to become an AFL Player. To be eligible to be nominated for the award, a player must be born in 2002 or younger.
The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award for round 2 of the 2021 AFL New Zealand Premiership has been awarded to Mackenzie Telford from the Southern Saints.
Mackenzie is based out of Christchurch and is playing in his first season of the Premiership.
In only his second game in the competition, the 17 year old played a key role for the Saints during their round 2 clash against the Crows. The key forward/Ruckman kicked 2 goals and impressed coach Sean Mayes.
“Mackenzie is a confident young man who can play both forward and in the ruck. He is big in stature and has real potential in the game as he continues to develop. Being involved with the Saints this year will also be of benefit regarding our great, embracing, team culture.”
AFL New Zealand spoke to Mackenzie and asked him a couple of questions during the week.
What School do you attend?
I played Rugby League, Touch, Cricket, AFL and Rugby.
How did you get into AFL?
My friends Dad helped Coach AFL and went down to a training session and enjoyed it from my first touch of the footy.
What do you enjoy about playing AFL?
I like the physicality of the sport and the people involved.
What are your goals for AFL in the future?
I hope to make the NZ Falcons U18 side in the future.
What do you think your biggest advantage is out on the field?
I’m quite tall for my age, so I would probably say, my height.