In a game played in great spirit, Port Adelaide’s Aboriginal AFL Academy have defeated the New Zealand U18 side in the first ever meeting between the two sides at QBE stadium in Albany on Sunday afternoon.
Leading at every change, the Aboriginal AFL Academy (AAA) defeated New Zealand by 145 points underneath blue skies in Auckland.
The AAA won the toss and kicked with a three-goal breeze in the first quarter and were out of the blocks fast courtesy of an early goal to small forward Terell Rigney.
With Tye Bedford and Malachai Ahmatt dominating in ruck with AAA forwards were getting plenty of opportunities and by midway through the first quarter had already kicked four goals to NZ’s none.
Ahmatt’s brilliant first quarter continued with back-to-back goals in as many minutes and at quarter time the AAA led by 43 points, 6.7 to 0.0.
The second quarter was much the same and by the time Ahmatt had scored his third goal at the 10-minute mark, the AAA had extended their lead beyond 10 goals.
But the New Zealander’s continued to persevere and their hard work was finally rewarded with their first goal to Tayne Lockwood, thanks to a 50-metre penalty that took him to the goal square.
However, the AAA steadied with the final three goals of the quarter to lead by 79 points at the main break, 13.7 (85) to 1.0 (6).
Jacob Burri played his best game in a New Zealand jumper along Chai Proctor and Alex Awatere, who both had strong games.
After half-time NZ came out with renewed vigour.
The NZ team possessed great speed and tacking pressure and after a rugged opening four minutes to the second half, Frank Szekely broke the stalemate with his fourth goal.
Still kicking with a strong breeze, the AAA controlled the game and kicked six goals in the next nine minutes to completely take the game away from the New Zealanders.
However, New Zealand refused to give up. After a great passage of play flamboyant forward Josh Morgan-Ranui calmly slotted NZ’s second goal from a set shot 20 metres out.
Just before three-quarter time one of the field umpires copped a stray kick flush in the face and he had to make his way to the bench slightly dazed as the siren sounded.
At three-quarter time the AAA led by 115 points, 20.8 (128) to 2.1 (13).
NZ started the final quarter as they finished the third quarter with a major to Morgan-Ranui, this time a clever snap around his body from close range.
From this point however, the AAA completely dominated kicking the next five goals in 10 minutes. The major interest in the last couple of minutes was whether livewire small forward Rigney could kick his 10th goal and with seconds on the clock he obliged with a snap over his left shoulder from 20 metres out.
Misilifi Faimalo and Josh Morgan-Ranui were named best for the New Zealand after strong performances.
Aboriginal AFL Academy: Terrel Rigney and Frank Szekely
New Zealand U18’s: Josh Morgan-Ranui and Misilifi Faimalo
Aboriginal AFL Academy: Terrel Rigney 10, Frank Szekely 7, Malachai Ahmatt-Lovett 3, Dylan Barge 2, Kayne Harvey 1, Tye Bedford 1, Cameron Wild 1, Isaiah Glancey 1.
New Zealand U18’s: Josh Morgan-Ranui 2, Tayne Lockwood 1.