The AFL New Zealand Women’s Premiership saw the culmination of its third season with a Grand Final victory to the Central Shakers
The Shakers completed a convincing victory over the previously undefeated Western Ravens, winning their first premiership title. The AFLNZ Women’s Premiership season expanded in 2023 with the introduction of 3 new teams aligning with the Men’s Premiership competition. Strong Easterlies played havoc to the flow of the game with the defensive units of both teams holding firm. June Manning provided some staunch pressure at fullback for the Shakers and the defensive pressure from key Ravens onballer Naia Toaolamai-Holden, continued to provide forward entries for the Ravens.
The running power of Indy Gibson provided further opportunities for the Ravens, but blustery conditions continued to negate many scoring opportunities. The Raven defensive unit showed great strength under enormous pressure with Makenna Jones continually driving attacking raids for the Shakers.
The Shakers utilised the breeze well with penetrating kicks that lead to a conversion rate that could not be matched by the Ravens.
Looking ahead, it is hoped that the recent expansion will lead to Wellington and Canterbury based teams in the near future. The female competition provides the perfect environment for girls transitioning from the Youth Competition formats to senior football and is the next step in finalising the pathway for women to participate in AFL within New Zealand. Seven players from the New Zealand Youth Girls representative team participated in this year’s Grand Final.
The 2024 International Cup is a huge focus for the Women’s game and the Premiership provides a stepping stone, to play AFL at a higher level and prepare for the inaugural New Zealand Kahu Women’s team to participate in the AFL International Cup in Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in August next year.
AFL New Zealand would like congratulate all those involved and thank the following organisations and people who helped achieve what was a fantastic competition.
- Marist Rugby Club
- Shanta Physio
- Jun Tanlayco
- Auckland Stadiums
- Players and Coaching Staff
Western Ravens 1:3:9 Central Shakers 4:3:27
Western Ravens: Kristin Farrell 1
Central Shakers: Andrea O’Reilly 2, Catriona O’Brien 1, Makenna Jones 1
Best on Ground