Foundation North continues to make an impact

AFL New Zealand would like to thank Foundation North for their continued support in the development of AFL within New Zealand. The funding provided by the Trust directly assists the AFL New Zealand employment structure and leads to the leadership and structure required to impact on the initiatives highlighted below.

AFL New Zealand Youth Competition enters its third year

AFL New Zealand is excited to announce the return of the Youth Competition commencing in October 2017 for its third successive year. The return will mark the third year of the competition after two hugely successful competitions in the past two years The Youth Competition for boys and girls has been created to complement the pathway for participants to enjoy and excel in AFL.

It has a focus on improving athletes’ skills and fitness within a fun environment. This is achieved through a training, game and development programme that highlights the necessary requirements throughout the pathway. The game for everyone, this year will also see senior returning players play a key leadership role to help grow the game.

The Youth Boys competition will be based in two major centres in Auckland and Wellington with two age groups U14 & U17. The Youth Girls will be based in both Auckland and Wellington featuring an U17 age group.

Each age group includes a combination of skill development – kicking, catching, passing and bouncing – game play and personal development that takes place throughout New Zealand. This combination will lead to a number of opportunities for participants including AFL New Zealand Academy selection, New Zealand representation, National Combine selection, access to talent scouts and AFL International Scholarships.

There are several National Academy and age group teams, Academy Level 1, Academy Level 2, New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls and New Zealand U18. These teams are selected from the respective Academy levels and either tour in Australia or play a touring Australian based team in April each year.

Counties Manukau Region

AFL New Zealand continues to improve its standing in the South Auckland region focussing on providing new opportunities for Secondary School students to play organised sport.

With an increased focus on female participation, the AFL New Zealand pathway for participants within the region, commences with the delivery of a selection of Secondary School programmes including taster sessions, opportunities to compete in school at class and house level and finally school representative opportunities. Opportunities continue once again with the pathway leading to the Youth Competitions. Further opportunities exist for participants to be selected in the AFL New Zealand Academy which focuses on improving the skills and fitness of athletes through use of a training and development programme. From the AFL New Zealand Academy, the next step is the selection process for National Representative teams, with the project producing nine students from the Counties Manukau region who have completed the pathway and now represent their country in the sport of AFL.

The Introduction to AFL programme was delivered to over 1000 students at four Counties Manukau Schools during the past twelve months with Mangere, Pakuranga, Howick and Pukekohe High School and Colleges all participating.

AFL New Zealand has partnered with Howick College and this will see Year 10 students receive Introduction to AFL in Term 3 this year leading into the Junior AFL Cup in Term 4. Rosehill College will also join the project in the back half of 2017 with Pakuranga revisiting further sessions of AFL. Rosehill already has a number of participants within the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition.

The competition is the perfect forum to engage with potential volunteers who add to community capability. Parent Matthew Morling, has two sons (Ronan and Argyle) who have represented Rosehill College in the Secondary School AFL Cup. Matthew has progressed through the volunteer ranks to play a role as the school coach and the current manager of the AFL New Zealand Academy Level 1 team.

Earlier on in the year, Howick College competed in a Class Rules competition, with three female students (Archie-Leigh Russell, Ceyan Drollet & Jazmin Stevens-Apaipora) from the College moving on through the pathway representing the New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls in Wellington over the ANZAC weekend.

A huge success in participation was generated through the Junior AFL Cup Secondary Schools competition. In Term 4 2016, the Franklin region ran and competed in their first cluster tournament with new schools Pukekohe High school and Tuakau College also taking part. The success of the tournament was directly driven by the interest shown by Pukekohe High School to host the event. Pukekohe High School Sport Coordinator, Paul Meads, showcased a willingness to have his students involved in a new sport and increased opportunities for activity. Over the senior and junior AFL Cup, Pukekohe introduced 90 students to inter school competition. Chelsea Young was a shining light representing the AFL New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls and the inaugural National Womens combine in Wellington over the ANZAC period.


North Harbour Region

Female participation is going from strength to strength in the Harbour region. Five Schools, Rosmini College, Carmel College, Kingsway School and Northcote College have completed a variety of programmes incorporating AFL. By year end, 2000 students from these schools will have completed an AFL New Zealand Secondary School programme, with female participation an essential element.

AFL New Zealand has diversified the programmes available to Secondary Schools to ensure flexibility that suits the outcomes of the school and provides opportunities for students and staff to participate in all facets of AFL.The exciting range of programmes ensures that our professional staff can work with Secondary Schools to deliver a fun and rewarding experience for girls, boys and teachers.

Following on from school programmes, opportunities continue out of school with the pathway leading to the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition based at North Harbour Stadium running from October to December each year. Five students were lucky enough to progress through the pathway to represent the national New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls in Wellington over ANZAC weekend in April. Buell Verkade (Whangaparaoa College), Samantha Shrimpton (Birkenhead College), Misialofa Saamu (Hobsonville Point Secondary School), Masoka Kalenga (Carmel College) and Jaimee Wyatt (Westlake Girls High School) were all part of the victorious Kahu side that won a two match series over a Mornington Peninsula side who travelled from Victoria, Australia.

In Term 3 last year, Year 10 classes at Carmel College received the Introduction to AFL programme . AFL New Zealand continues to generate new relationships as a way of generating new participation opportunities for females.  The relationship between the School and AFL New Zealand is paramount to an ongoing connection with the sport and a lifetime of enjoyment for those who connect.

Looking ahead, the delivery of the Introduction to AFL programme to over 800 students at Whangaparaoa College in Term 3 2017 has been secured with Hobsonville Point Secondary School and Kingway School in Silverdale also key participation targets for the future.


Auckland Region

AFL New Zealand is delivering AFL KiwiKick to over 3200 Primary and Intermediate School children within the Auckland region. AFL New Zealand will continue with these programmes, as they deliver on key outcomes that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles through sport.

The programme teaches children not only the fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce but also stability and locomotive movement skills as well. These skills are valuable for a wide variety of sports, and the AFL KiwiKick programme ensures that everyone who participates is confident and competent with those skills. Qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches deliver focused and fun sessions during school hours, with every child receiving at least six sessions of coaching.

A further school hub has been formed and has connect with 1320 students at Orakei School, St Kentigern Boys, Ponsonby Intermediate and Wesley Intermediate to date with another 689 students from Glendowie and Marcellin College beginning the programme in Term 3.  The Auckland Tamaki region involves seven schools who are participating in partnership with AFL.

Schools involved in the project include Bailey Road School, Orakei School, St Kentigern Boys, Ponsonby Intermediate, Wesley Intermediate, Marcellin College and Glendowie School.

To follow on from the sessions during school time, the children then have access to an after school programme that takes place within the school grounds directly after school. This provides the participants with easy access in a familiar setting and also provides parents with the opportunity of attending. This opportunity has been taken up enthusiastically, with more than 10% of the total roll taking part at Orakei and Bailey Road School. Bailey Road School has been particularly successful with 50 participants in the after school programme (15% of the school roll).

The AFL KiwiKick programme also encourages teachers to be involved in the sessions and gain professional development. The teachers learn how to deliver AFL KiwiKick sessions and control games of AFL. This will ensure that children can continue to be active sporting participants utilising the teachers newly developed skills following the departure of AFL New Zealand coaches associated with the AFL KiwiKick programme.

AFL KiwiKick provides a great skill base for students and their transition from primary to intermediate and on to secondary school sport. It’s for boys and girls, mums and dads. AFL KiwiKick is fun, it’s safe and it works!

AFL is gaining momentum as a sport at Glendowie College in Auckland’s Eastern Suburbs after completing two AFL New Zealand Secondary School programmes over the past twelve months.

AFL New Zealand pathway for participants commences with the delivery of a selection of Secondary School programmes including taster sessions, opportunities to compete in school at class and house level and finally school representative opportunities.

Western Springs College student, James Dakin has completed the pathway representing New Zealand at Academy Level 2 and U18 New Zealand. James is looking forward to his next challenge in the pathway, receiving his AFL Level 1 coaching qualification and coaching a Western Springs College Junior team in the Secondary School AFL Cup.

Coming up in Term 3, Glendowie College Year 9 students will participate in Introduction to AFL followed by a AFL House Rules. Glendowie Sport Coordinator, Jeremy Adams is excited about AFL House rules being played after the introduction sessions in term 3 that will lead into selection for their Junior AFL Cup teams, which takes place in Term 4 each year. Community links have been secured with coaches from Auckland AFL Team University Blues, providing coaches for the tournament.

The Introduction to AFL programme was delivered to over 800 students at three Auckland schools during the past twelve months with Glendowie, Selwyn and Western Springs Colleges all participating. Marist College students will also receive Introduction to AFL in Term 3.