Junior Hawks Cup growing bigger and better

HawksCupLogo (1)The Junior Hawks Cup is set to return even bigger and better than last year, with a great selection of schools gearing up to compete.

Open to Year 9 and 10 students, the Junior Hawks Cup is where many players get their first taste of AFL. Many players who have gone on to represent New Zealand played their first matches in this tournament since the inaugural tournament in 2009.

The Hawks Cup is open to both male and female teams, with Regional Cluster Tournaments taking place around New Zealand. These culminate in the North Island and South Island Championships in mid November, with school supremacy at stake.

The current Champions of the North Island in the Junior Hawks Cup, One Tree Hill College, are expected to return and be a powerful force again. However, they will have to get past St Paul’s College and Western Springs College in the Central Auckland Cluster Tournament first.

Some schools will have the benefit of top AFL New Zealand High Performance coaches, with current Under 18 New Zealand Hawks coach Chris Mundell taking charge of Western Springs College’s team. Other teams will be coached by High Performance players, with many members of the U18 New Zealand Hawks and Kahus team stepping up to coach Junior teams from their schools.

Coaches are also being sought from local clubs, with the Hawks Cup competition a vital link in the pathway from participation in school, to participation in Senior AFL.

For players, opportunities will exist to become part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme following the conclusion of the tournaments. This programme offers training, match play and development, and provides a pathway for talented athletes to secure New Zealand representation.

The tournament is also an excellent chance for athletes from other codes to hone their skills. AFL involves widely transferable skills, and as such the Hawks Cup is an ideal tournament for athletes to use to keep fit and sharp during the offseason of their other sports.

The Regional Cluster Tournament dates, with schools that have expressed an interest in competing, are as follows:

Northland: 29th October – Kensington Park

  • Keri Keri High School
  • Bay of Islands College
  • Dargaville High School
  • Whangarei Boys High School

Wellington: 4th November – Hutt Park

  • Hutt Valley High School
  • St Patrick’s College (town)
  • Tawa College
  • Wellington College
  • Onslow College

Waitakere: 5th November – Trusts Arena

  • Waitakere College
  • Liston College
  • Rutherford College
  • Kelston Boys High School
  • Green Bay High School
  • Henderson High School

Counties: 5th November – Papatoetoe Sports Centre

  • Manurewa High School
  • Aorere College
  • James Cook High School
  • Mission Height Junior College
  • Southern Cross Campus

Central Auckland: 6th November – Western Springs

  • Western Springs College
  • St Paul’s College
  • One Tree Hill College

Harbour: 6th November – Onepoto Domain

  • Glenfield College
  • Northcote College
  • Birkenhead College
  • Albany Junior High School

Canterbury: 11th November – Westminster Park

  • Burnside High School
  • St Bedes College
  • Kaiapoi High School

Otago: 12th November – Logan Park

Teams to be determined.

North Island AFL Junior Secondary School Championships: 15th-16th November – Trusts Arena

Teams to be determined.

South Island AFL Junior Secondary School Championships: 15th-16th November – Westminster Park

Teams to be determined.