Kids from schools around the Harbour region have taken part in an AFL KiwiKick tournament for Year 7s and 8s, on a sunny day at Sunnynook Park.
8 teams from 5 schools were involved, a great result which provided teams the opportunity to play up to 5 games over the day.
The AFL KiwiKick tournament provided a context for the children to put the skills of kick, catch, pass and bounce into practice. Some of the children had first learned these skills through taking part in the AFL KiwiKick programme in schools and at AFL KiwiKick After School programmes.
Those skills were evident throughout the day, with the skills as a base for rapid improvements in game understanding.
Two pools were set up for the tournament, with teams from Murrays Bay Intermediate School, Belmont Intermediate, Orewa College and Albany Junior High School in Pool A. Pool B was made up of teams from Rosmini College, Murrays Bay Intermediate School, Belmont Intermediate and Orewa College.
After three rounds of pool play and semifinals, the two finalists emerged. Orewa 1 was set to take on Murrays Bay 1.
The first half saw a tight contest, with neither team able to get on top. Murrays Bay were particularly impressive with the handball. The score at halftime saw Orewa maintain a narrow lead, 1.2:8-1.1:7.
In the 2nd half Orewa began to play very smart AFL, kicking and marking accurately around the field to keep possession of the ball. They also managed to put more goals on the board, and eventually ran away with a 3.4:22-1.1:7 win.
AFL KiwiKick Coordinator Michael Gregson saw many of the games, and noticed not only the impressive skills shown, but also that all participants were having fun.
“The skills shown in the games were incredible. The kicking, marking and handballing ability of the participants far exceeded my expectations. The games were played in a great spirit, most were playing the full game for the first time and everyone was learning and laughing.”
Michael also extended a special thanks on behalf on all the participants to Mark Young of Murrays Bay Intermediate School, who played a leading role in organising and running the Harbour AFL KiwiKick Tournament.
A player from each team was declared Best and Fairest for their team:
Orewa 1: Brandon Griffiths
Murrays Bay 1: Wade Jansen
Albany Junior: Sean Corrigan
Rosmini: Riley Hardy
Murrays Bay 2: Nathan Brady
Orewa 2: Carma Tikoi Suva
Belmont 1: Tijay Karanui
Belmont 2: Hunter Rush
An aspect of the gameplay that was evident was the number of players who have seen AFL on TV, and were keen to emulate the professionals. Sommet Sports broadcast every game of the 2014 AFL season, and in the offseason shows a game of the week every Wednesday afternoon after school on channel 69 on Sky and 14 on Freeview.