Counties kids get a kick out of AFL

Thousands of children from around the Counties Manukau region have taken part in AFL, thanks to a partnership between AFL New Zealand and Counties Manukau Sport.


The Regional Sporting Trust has supported a number of projects that has seen children undertake six sessions of fundamental movement skills coaching followed by a majority of these participants then taking part in a variety of Have a Go Days and afterschool programmes throughout the region.

Across the 8 Schools involved in the Counties region, over 3800 children have had the opportunity to develop an affinity with the sport through the AFL KiwiKick programme, providing them with an introduction to the game and skill development.

Schools involved in the project were:

  • Dawson School
  • Kedgley Intermediate
  • Panama Road School
  • South Auckland seventh-day Adventist school
  • Elim Christian College
  • Redoubt North School
  • Somerville Intermediate School
  • Farm Cove Intermediate

Another heartening aspect of the programme was the participation of more than 400 students across those seven schools in the AFL KiwiKick After School programmes, providing the participants with the opportunity to further develop their skills. Children involved in this programme were also provided with an AFL KiwiKick ball and bag, to ensure ongoing activity beyond the programme.

In January this year, an 8-week Play AFL Club was held at Walter Massey Park in conjunction with Mangere East Hawks Rugby League Club where 50 participants signed up to the AFL KiwiKick programme and has further cemented AFL New Zealand’s relationship with the Rugby League club. The collaboration between the sports has ensured the continuation of physical activity for youth in the region.

The project with Counties Manukau Sport was taken up by over 10% of the roll of schools participating in the project.

Professional development, resources and support have also been provided to 135 teachers at these schools, to allow them to continue AFL activities following the conclusion of programme delivery.

“In term one of 2016 the AFL Kiwi kick programme was delivered to our school. All classes took part in this 6 week programme and I have to say that the response from the kids was very good. The programme was inclusive for all levels of skill ability to grow over the programme duration and it was very gratifying to see the skill level develop as the programme progressed and confidence in the kids. I and the kids found the tutors to be really friendly and well onto it.

I would recommend this programme for any Primary and Intermediate school as it covers many large ball skills: kicking, catching, passing, and team play. I would definitely get this AFL Kiwi kick programme in again.”

Lynn Wilson, Farm Cove Intermediate


Participants from the AFL KiwiKick programme have already commenced a continuation through the AFL pathway with students participating in the 10-week inaugural Youth competition. From this competition 3 students from the Counties region have gone on to become part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, representing the Level 1 (U14) Academy NZ Hawks against a touring NSW Independent Schools team in April of 2016.