The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award will be awarded weekly to a standout young player in the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
Each week the award will be allocated to those who show ability that favours the core components it takes to become an AFL Player. To be eligible to be nominated for the award, a player must be born in 2000 or younger.
The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award for round 2 of the 2018 AFLNZ Premiership has been awarded to Manny Snooks from the AFL New Zealand Academy.
The 16 year old made his debut in the AFL New Zealand Premiership playing as a development player for the Northern Sun’s and fit right in at the top level of footy in New Zealand.
Manny hails from Whangarei in Northland and stands at 190cm tall. He rotated between the forward line and the ruck and outshone his opponents with his clear height advantage.
“Manny has come to AFL from a league background and has quickly grasped AFL concepts. He has many quality attributes and I am really excited watching his development. Manny will be an athlete to watch, what ever code he chooses.” AFL New Zealand Youth Development Manager, Mick Coultard.
AFL New Zealand Media caught up with Manny during the week.
What School/University do you attend?
I attended Whangarei Boys High School but decided to leave school and work. I also study online as I want to achieve my level 2 and 3 by the end of 2018.
What kind of sports did you play growing up?
My family was mostly involved with Rugby League and only started consistently playing at 12 years old. I have a passion for all sports which involve physical attributes.
How did you get into AFL?
I played for Whangarei Boys High School in the AFL Cup secondary schools competition and used it for pre-season fitness for the upcoming Rugby League season. From there, I was selected in the 2017 AFL New Zealand Academy.
What do you enjoy about playing AFL?
I enjoy the adrenaline rush, support and brotherhood within the game of AFL. The Northern Sun’s team included me in the team instantly and I felt welcomed and very comfortable.
I also enjoy taking marks and contesting as I love to be physical and I am all about getting fit as I am a health/adrenaline junkie.
What are your goals for AFL in the future?
My goals this year is to make the New Zealand Under 18 team who travel to Melbourne in May. It would be a privilege to make the team and represent my country in Australia.
What do you think your biggest advantage is out on the field?
My biggest advantage would obviously be my height but also my passion for the sport itself as I have grown to love the game. My rugby league background gives me a few advantages especially when it comes to defence and contesting the ball.
I am a very confident player and I am not scared to mark anyone no matter how big or small as long as I’m on the field and will continue to love the sport called AFL.