Draft round up: Former Suns Captain joins the Saints

Former Northern Suns Captain James Kusel will suit up for the Southern Saints in the 2020 AFL New Zealand Premiership. The key forward is a welcome addition and bolsters their already healthy midfield and forward line stocks.  


Along with Kusel, the Saints have drafted talented defender Kieran Charlton from Christchurch and the versatile Josh Cunliffe from Auckland.


Category 1: Kieran Charlton

Position: Defender

Kieran Charlton is a tough defender with a solid overhead mark.

He took the role at Fullback with the Level 2 Academy side in April this year and showed what he can produce against the touring Australian side.

In May, Charlton travelled to Melbourne with the U18 NZ side and played a stellar game off the halfback line. His efforts saw him receive the best on ground nod from the opposition coach.

Currently playing for the Eastern Blues in the Canterbury league, this young talent will continues to develop and has the potential to become a regular in the New Zealand senior side in years to come.


Category 2: Josh Cunliffe

Position: Forward

Josh Cunliffe has returned to his spiritual home at the Southern Saints.

In 2017, Cunliffe was a key contributor to the Southern Saints Premiership before setting himself a goal of making the New Zealand side for the AFL International Cup and worked hard to achieve that goal, finding himself on a plane to Melbourne.

Josh has been playing the sport since 2009 after being persuaded by his friends to come and play for the North Shore Tigers in the Auckland AFL.

The 28 year old is a hard running small forward who loves to kick a goal. His versatility often sees him as a key defender when required.


Category 3: James Kusel

Position: Midfield/Forward

Hailing from Wellington, James Kusel was the inaugural Captain of the Northern Suns from 2016-2018 where his best achievement was leading them to second place in 2017.

Having spent some time away from the game in 2018, James has his sights set on making the 2020 AFL International Cup squad and will use the Premiership as preparation to impress the national selectors.

Kusel has a playing career that stretches back over a ten-year period. Debuting for New Zealand in 2006, Kusel faced a baptism of fire at the Australian Country Championships as a young key forward at only 17 years of age.

James has represented New Zealand at the 2017 International Cup and played a key role in the midfield which saw the national side reach the Grand Final, played on the MCG.


Read more:

Central Giants Player Profiles

Northern Suns Player Profiles

Western Crows Player Profiles

Southern Saints Player Profiles