Two teams from Kelston Boys High School have powered ahead of the pack to take out first and second place in the Waitakere Junior Hawks Cup Cluster Tournament. The tournament was held at The Trusts Arena in Waitakere.
The Junior Hawks Cup constitutes the first step on the AFL New Zealand High Performance Pathway. Athletes that make an impression in these competitions can be rewarded with invitiations to the AFL New Zealand Combine programme, from which the very best are selected to represent New Zealand at age group level.
Running in conjunction with the Hawks Cup was the Waitakere Play AFL Club, which operates every Wednesday afternoon at The Trusts Arena. Between the two fields with matches being played, children participated in AFL KiwiKick. If they needed any inspiration for why they should learn AFL skills, all they had to do was look at the games.
All of these schools have participated in AFL New Zealand Secondary Schools programmes. In particular, students from Green Bay High School successfully completed the Coach the Coaches course, in which High School students learn how to deliver AFL KiwiKick lessons, and then deliver in a local Primary School alongside qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches, earning credits and work experience in the process.
The tournament featured many close and exciting games, played across three rounds with each team playing each other once. Only seven points separated the two Kelston Boys High School teams after their first round clash. In the match between Kelston 1 and Green Bay High School, the scores were locked at 14 all at halftime, with Kelston pulling ahead late in the second half to take the match.
Mark McKenzie and Greg Boxhall from the Hawthorn Football Club were in attendance, scouting potential players to offer AFL International Scholarships. At present, three young New Zealanders currently hold an International Scholarship with the club, including Siope Ngata of Aorere College, who was the MVP at last year’s North Island Junior Hawks Cup.
The support of teachers and student coaches is important for the continued success of the Hawks Cup. The sterling work of Kelston Boys High School teacher Nick Warrenson allowed for two teams from the school to be entered, and Green Bay High School was well supported by Adam Wilson.
Waitakere College were coached by current U-18 New Zealand Hawk Maia Pene. Maia, a student at the school, was able to pass on knowledge and skills that he had picked up in the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme. Teacher Joey Te Whata managed the Waitakere College team.
Each school had a player who earned the title of being Best on Ground for their team. From Waitakere College, the honour went to Dominic Rudolph. Elijah Sufia was adjudged the best player from Kelston Boys High School, and Carlos Donnell-Brown was particularly impressive from Green Bay High School.
Further Hawks Cup cluster tournaments will be taking place around the country over the coming weeks. The Junior Hawks Cup programme will culminate in the North Island and South Island Hawks Cups, where school teams will have the opportunity to secure the title of being the best AFL team on their island. The current North Island title holders are Kelston Boys High School.
Fixtures and Results:
Kelston 1 4.3:27 – 5.4:34 Kelston 2
Green Bay High School 5.3:33 – 2.1:13 Waitakere College
Kelston 1 5.4:34 – 3.6:24 Green Bay High School
Kelston 2 8.6:54 – 4.1:25 Waitakere College
Green Bay High School 2.3:15 – 5.4:34 Kelston 2
Waitakere College 2.1:13 – 9.5:59 Kelston 1