Giants crush the Saints to secure 2018 title.

The Central Giants are the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiers for the first time after they crushed the Southern Saints by 91 points in round 7 at QBE Stadium yesterday afternoon.


With only two rounds remaining in the season, the Giants can’t be caught as they made it 7 wins in row and become the third different side in as many years to be crowned Premiers.

16 development players from the AFL New Zealand Youth Academy were included in all four Premiership sides during round 7 (Development Round), signifying the next wave of AFL athletes emerging through the ranks.

The opportunity is utilised to further develop and manage the environment for young players and their introduction into senior football. The preparation they receive will potentially see them drafted and playing in the 2019 AFLNZ Premiership as a full time participant.

To round out the development round, the Western Crows put in a dominant fourth quarter performance in both attack and defence to defeat the Northern Suns by 35 points.

Southern Saints vs Central Giants:

The Central Giants went into their game against the Saints knowing that a victory of the defending premiers would seal the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership.

Not only had they been dominant all season long, the Giants had the added bonus of the New Zealand Captain Andrew Howison included in the side. Howison, who now lives in Melbourne, returned home to play his first game in the Premiership and made a sudden impact.

The Giants raced out of the blocks to blitz the Saints early on as they kicked seven first quarter goals to one to put the 2017 Premiers under pressure.

The onslaught continued in the second as the Giants defence held the Saints scoreless as midfielder Declan Crann matched his two first quarter goals to have four on the scoreboard by half time.

Michael Boyce and the Saints are known to never give in and plugged away for all four quarters but were totally outclassed by a well oiled Giants side.

A quieter fourth quarter was finished by a goal from the competitions leading goal kicker James McKenzie who kicked the cherry on top as the Giants romped home to a 91 point victory.

It’s been a tremendous turnaround for the Premiership side in 2018. A new Coach in Izaak Williams (Canterbury) and Captain Sam McKenzie, the Giants drafted some quality players during the national draft and focused on a culture that brought them closer together.

The Central Giants only managed three wins in each of the past two seasons and can now call themselves the 2018 Premiers!

Next goal: An undefeated season!

The hero:

Blake Nahu and Declan Crann.

The midfield duo wiped the floor with the Saints as they took control of the game from the first bounce. With a combination of fast pace and smooth skill execution, the pair were unstoppable. Crann also managed four goals for the game.

The support cast:

You can’t go past James McKenzie after he bagged another four goals for the week bringing his season tally to 26.

Jevaan Croft and Blake Williamson were the standout development players for the Giants. Built with speed, Croft and Williamson used their strongest attributes to torment the Saints around the ground.

The consolation effort:

Brother’s Nico and Carlos Donnell-Brown were fantastic for the Saints. Nico threw himself into every contest in defence while Carlos was working hard in the centre of the field.

Liam Mayes was named the best development player for the Saints after having a strong game. Mayes was strong at every contest he was involved with and showed maturity for a development player.

Goal Scorers:

Central Giants: Declan Crann 4, James McKenzie 4, Elliot Bennetts 3, James Dakin 1, Braedyn Collins 1, Sam McKenzie 1, Blake Nahu 1.

Southern Saints: Alex Fakatoumafi 2. 

Best on ground:

Central Giants: Blake Nahu

Southern Saints: Nico Donnell-Brown

Development Best on ground:

Central Giants: Jevaan Croft

Southern Saints: Liam Mayes


Western Crows vs Northern Suns:

The Western Crows came from behind to snatch a five goal win over the Suns in round 4 but the Suns had a number of experienced players return and were looking to upset the second placed Crows.

Young forward Josh Sedgwick got the Suns off to the perfect start kicking the first two goals of the game but the Crows fought back late in the quarter through forwards Brad Wade and Luke Dunning as they went into the first change leading by nine points.

It was a tight second term as both sides matched each other on both attack and defence. The Crows opened up the lead to four goals until Josh Sedgwick struck again on the stroke of halftime to keep them in the game.

Suns captain James Kusel played a solid game in defence and linked well with Tim Stokes who is showing his versatility around the ground in 2018.

Another close third quarter kept both teams in the game as each of the sides kicked three goals each.

The Crows finished the game kicking three goals on attack as Ryan White led the way in defence as he held the Suns to one goal.

The final scoreline was a 35 point victory in favour of the Crows

The hero:

Shane Leat was once again leading the way and was forming a great combination with fellow NZ squad member Ty Smith.

The duo worked well together at the stoppages to produce some fast clearances around the contest.

The support cast:

Development players Luke Williams and Quinn Pocock had outstanding games during the 2018 Development round. The pair showed that they could foot it with the best in the country gathering multiple possessions and effective disposals.

The consolation effort:

Joel Brown and Jackson Clince played a solid all round game. Brown is having a very consistent season in 2018.

Young forward Josh Sedgwick kicked four goals for the game and is quietly flying under the radar as a very handy player for the Suns.

Goal Scorers:

Western Crows: Brad Wade 4, Luke Dunning 2, Ben Hutton 2, Alastair Maisey 2, Zach Maio 2, Luke Williams 1.

Northern Suns: Josh Sedgwick 4, James Kusel 1, Jackson Clince 1, Mitch Ryan 1, Ali Cargo 1,

Best on ground:

Western Crows: Ty Smith

Northern Suns: Joel Brown

Development Best on ground:

Western Crows: Luke Williams

Northern Suns: Xavier Bryham


What’s next?

The Premiership takes a week off over the Easter break and will return for round 8 on April 8th where we will see the Saints and Suns kick things off in the early game at 11.30am followed by the Crows and Giants at 1.45pm.