The Waitakere Magpies got their Auckland AFL Premiership defence off to a winning start with a 34 point win over the Manurewa Raiders at Mountfort Park in Manurewa on Sunday afternoon. In the early game, the North Shore Tigers produced some good footy to stun the Mt Roskill Saints to record a five goal victory. On Saturday, the new look Howick Hornets hosted the University Blues at Paparoa Domain with the Blues taking out the game by 44 points.
Howick Hornets vs University Blues
2nd September, 2.00pm, Paparoa Domain, Howick.
The Howick Hornets made their Auckland AFL debut on their home ground in Round 1 of the 2017 AAFL season. The former Pakuranga Panthers donned their new colours of Blue and Yellow and came to the game with a new structure and game plan thanks to new head coach Andrew Azzopardi.
The Blues managed to get into the game early but constant pressure from the Hornets made it tough on the University side, but they worked hard to execute their game plan and the game highlighted areas they need to work on going forward.
There were some really impressive first up games for the new University players with young Lachlan Salmon showing courage and determination going for the ball in his first ever game. Adam Tripp also showed a lot of promise in the Ruck in his first game, and the experience of Mike Woolford, Ryan Marsland and James Considine in their first games for the club really showed through.
“I am certainly glad we got them (Howick) first as I feel they will cause trouble to a number of sides this year.” University Blues Head Coach Chris Mundell.
Tim Stokes impressed in the middle and a solid game from Harison Manks on the wing showed the benefit of playing and training to higher honours in the off season.
Congratulations to the Howick Hornets committee and the players for what they have managed to achieve in the off season. Strong numbers, a good culture, good organisation, new club rooms and field and most certainly competitive football.
Mt Roskill Saints vs North Shore Tigers
3rd September, 12.00pm, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.
A glimmer of sunshine came out over Mountfort park on a breezy Sunday morning for the game of the round between the North Shore Tigers and the Mt Roskill Saints.
The arm wrestle began with the bounce of the ball and saw the Tigers tackling hard and locking the ball inside the Saints forward 50. New Tiger, Ronan Bourré showed his athleticism as a key forward booting 3 goals on debut and combined well with Troy Brown who was relentless in his defensive pressure.
Coming up against a Mt Roskill midfield core with much experience, newly appointed North Shore Captain Jackson Clince lead the way kicking two goals of his own and stacking up a heap of the footy backing up the stunning form that saw him selected in the New Zealand national side for the International Cup! But he was helped hugely by the newly converted midfielder Justin Du Toit and Josh Cunliffe who lead the defensive pressure creating havoc for a Mt Roskill unit looking to take the game on.
The Tigers backline was full of some new faces. With familiar backline players missing through injury, Mitch Ryan held down a key position and directed the play down back. Peter Pirangi showed that playing in the AFL New Zealand Premiership earlier in the year has made him a better footballer, winning countless one on one contests. Joey Alesich took his new position down back creating plenty of run alongside Beau Phillips who caused issues for the Mt Roskill forwards punishing them on the turn around.
Defensive pressure was a key area for the Tigers going into this game and this showed all around the ground with Troy Brown setting the example from the forward line chasing down Will Dickinson to set the tone going into the second half.
Next week, the Tigers will come up against defending Premiers, the Waitakere Magpies at Onepoto Domain while the Saints will host the Howick Hornets at War Memorial Park.
Manurewa Raiders vs Waitakere Magpies
3rd September, 2.00pm, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.
The Waitakere Magpies got their Auckland AFL Premiership defence off to a winning start with a 34 point win over the Manurewa Raiders at Mountfort Park in Manurewa on Sunday afternoon.
With a good mix of experience and youth, the Magpies played well through the midfield. New Zealand International Cup midfielder Carlos ‘The Weapon’ Donnell-Brown continued his good form with a best on ground performance along with Steven Leuta who made his AAFL return after a five year hiatus.
Manurewa had some good passages of play and never gave up but the Waitakere side started firing in the second half with some good skill execution and great attack to get them home by five goals.
Waitakere forward Lee Tilly provided the highlight of the game, kicking two goals in two minutes during the third quarter. His first was a snap from the forward pocket, followed by Tilly taking a huge mark in the goal square and kicking true.
Magpies debutant Ben Hutton had some big shoes to fill with 2016 AAFL leading goal scorer with Brad Johnson out of the side. Ben took up the challenge and got the job done taking some strong contested marks and kicking a two goals.
Story – AAFL