The NZ Hawks Level 2 Academy hosted the U16 Peninsula Saints from South East Victoria in a 2 match series at QBE Stadium in Auckland over ANZAC weekend.
The Peninsula Saints returned to New Zealand for the second year in a row and comes off the back of the successful 2015 tour in Wellington.
The Level 2 side was coached by Wellington based Shannon Wall and confidence was running through the side. The squad knew they had a number of returning players from last year’s team who had developed during the last 12 months and were keen to get a win on their Australian counterparts.
During the campaign, Otago based Josh Mackie stood out for the Hawks as he used his knowledge he developed in the AFLNZ Premiership to weave his way through the middle of the field and provide good football for his forwards.
The Hawks unearthed a new talent in Josh Morgan-Ranui from Wellington College. Josh was positioned in the ruck and his vertical leap was significant in winning the ball 9 times out of 10. Along with his vertical leap, the 17 year olds marking ability will see him go a long way in the game of AFL and was rewarded with a best on ground performance in game 1.
The Hawks went goal for goal with the Saints for most of the game but experience shone through and the Saints kicked a number of late goals to stretch out the winning margin.
A special thank you goes out to Jeremy Bourke, Cam Roberts and Gavin Taylor from AFL South East for bringing their U16’s team over. AFLNZ look forward to seeing you again next year.
Also, a big thanks to management, umpires and all the parents and supporters who showed tremendous support for the girls.
A number of the players from the Level 2 Academy will join the U18 NZ Hawks in preparation for their trip to Melbourne to take on a side from the AFL South East region in early May.
Goals: Behinds: Total: 9 15 69 6 5 41
NZ Hawks Academy Level 2: Clayton Walters
NZ Hawks Academy Level 2: Josh Morgan-Ranui
Peninsula Saints U16 Boys: Matt Mayne
Peninsula Saints U16 Boys: Leith Bassett
Goals: Behinds: Total: 6 7 43 2 7 19
NZ Hawks Academy Level 2: Josh Mackie
NZ Hawks Academy Level 2: William Kempt
Peninsula Saints U16 Boys: Tom Baker
Peninsula Saints U16 Boys: Jack Marshall