The annual AFL New Zealand High Performance Awards took place on Saturday evening at the Spencer on Byron Hotel on Auckland’s North Shore.
With over 300 guests in attendance, the night was a celebration for all things AFL in New Zealand. Congratulations to the following award winners for 2016.
U16 Player of the Year – Misilifi ‘Richard’ Faimalo
Misilifi Faimalo has been a strong contributor for the North City Demons in the Wellington AFL as well representing his League at Senior Level. He made his debut for the NZ Hawks Senior team against the AFL Academy in 2016. He was the winner of the Round 5 Rising Star Award in the AFL New Zealand Premiership and is New Zealand’s number one hope for creating a midfield player capable of playing in the highest of all competitions, the AFL.
U18 Player of the Year – Heta Scarf-Matthews
Otago based, Heta Scarf-Matthews has developed over a number of years in the the sport. He made his debut for the New Zealand Senior team in last Sundays game against the AFL ACademy and was a standout on the half back flank for the Northern Suns team in the AFL New Zealand Premiership. Heta was awarded the Rising Star award for the AFL New Zealand Premiership in round 7 of that competition and recently won the beep test at the National Combine last Thursday. His development through the AFL New Zealand Premiership has secured his spot in the National Senior team.
Coach of the Year – Dave Abetz
Dave Abetz is senior coach of local club Manurewa Raiders and has also been involved with Secondary Schools Hawks Cup, AFL New Zealand Academy, Youth Competitions and is also the Assistant Coach of the Level 2 New Zealand Academy team. Dave has not only shown a willingness to take on numerous coaching roles but his work with junior players is having an effect on the dynamics of the Manurewa Club where the support base continues to grow.
Female Player of the Year – Killarney Morey
Killarney Morey attends Epsom Girls Grammar in Auckland and was selected as Female player of the tournament against the Woomera’s in December 2015. Killarney’s height and speed makes her a natural fit for AFL and there could be opportunities for her to participate at higher levels in the new AFL Women’s competition in 2017.
Senior Men’s Player of the Year – Andrew Howison
Originally hailing from Canterbury, Andrew Howison now resides in Melbourne where he was awarded Best on Ground for Oakleigh Districts in their Premiership win in 2015. Their first win in 30 years. He is also the current New Zealand Captain and a member of last years AFL New Zealand Heritage team. This is Andrew’s third consecutive Senior player of the year award and his captaincy and leadership makes him a well respected member of our community.