AFL New Zealand has announced a 67 person wider training squad in preparation for selection for the International Cup in 2020.
The New Zealand selectors assembled a squad which features a good mix of experience and youth. The inclusion of former Hawthorn International Scholarship holder Shem Tatupu who last played for New Zealand back in 2013, is a fantastic boost for the squad.
After three years with the Hawthorn FC, Shem took up the opportunity to sign with the Melbourne Storm in the NRL in 2016 before returning to play AFL this season. An ankle injury plagued his professional sporting career and now back at full health, the 22 year old is determined to don the Silver Fern at the 2020 International Cup.
The two year plan is expected to include the following selection criteria, essential to maintain squad inclusion;
- Full participation in both training and playing schedules for the 2019 and 2020 Premiership seasons. (Australian based players to match with current Australian clubs)
- Attendance at scheduled regional face to face organisational sessions. (Scheduled between July to Apr between 2018 to 2020)
- Commitment to a remote training plan. (Programmes to be individually designed with the ability to be completed remotely)
- Commitment to Regional League Competitions between August to December in 2018 and 2019.
The International Cup takes place in Melbourne every three years with the final held at the MCG. New Zealand has competed in the Men’s competition in every year the tournament has taken place since its inception in 2002.
The lowest it has placed in the 6 tournaments to date is third, with the highlights, a single victory in 2005 and two close losses to arch rivals Papua New Guinea by 7 points in 2008 and most recently by a single point at the MCG final in 2017.
The inception of the Development Player Programme implemented within the AFL New Zealand Premiership, has born some strong results to date. This has been displayed most recently with the successful results produced by the touring New Zealand Under 18 team who recently claimed its first ever victory against an Australian team, defeating the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League, in Melbourne in May earlier this year.
Twenty two of the twenty four players that represented the Under 18 New Zealand team, have done so by progressing through as a Development Player in the AFL New Zealand Premiership and this extends to the wider squad including a further 11 players.
In regards to talent development, AFL New Zealand is well placed to expect a selection of AFLNZ Premiership Development Players from 2017, 2018 and even 2019 to be push for selection in the final 2020 International Cup squad. A significant number of the player group to be announced are expected to based in Australia competing within the Australian system. Although these numbers are limited due to International Cup qualification standards, there will be a group of quality inclusions that will add to the experience and compliment youthful talent.
New national Head Coach Chris Mundell has been involved with the AFL New Zealand system at all levels over the past 8 years and is confident that NZ will be well placed in 2020.
“The International Cup in 2020 will see NZ in a great position, with the continued development of our U18 program (highlighted by there recent win in Melbourne) and the strengthening of the Premiership this should allow us as a team to take the strongest and most experienced group ever.
After coming so close in IC17 its great to see the re-committing of a number of senior players, I expect and look forward to the younger generation pushing hard for positions and ensuring that we as a group are primed to go one step further.”
The Under 18 New Zealand programme will run in conjunction with the Senior programme as the youthful talent continues to develop towards Senior representation. A U18 squad will be announced in the coming weeks.
The wider New Zealand Senior training squad is as follows;
|Aaron Harris||Brisbane||Morningside Panthers|
|Adam Simpson||Brisbane||Springwood Pumas|
|Alastair Maisey||Auckland||Mt Roskill Saints|
|Alex Fakatoumafi||Auckland||Manurewa Raiders|
|Alex Awatere||Wellington||North City Demons|
|Andrew Howison||Melbourne||Dromana Tigers|
|Andriu Sucu||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|Barclay Miller||Melbourne||St Kilda FC|
|Ben Hick||Auckland||University Blues|
|Blake Nahu||Waikato||Central Giants|
|Brad Mavor||Canterbury||University Cougars|
|Brandon Sucu||Brisbane||Alexandra Hills FC|
|Brendan Clark||Sunshine Coast||Hinterland Blues FC|
|Bronson Hewitson||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Carlos Donnell-Brown||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Chai Proctor||Otago||Otago Riot|
|Christian Blackie||Otago||Otago Riot|
|Clayton Walters||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Couper Jones||Auckland||Southern Saints|
|Craig Morgan||Wellington||Hutt Valley Eagles|
|Dan Young||Brisbane||Bond University|
|Daniel Howie||Auckland||Southern Saints|
|David Rattenbury||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Dean Smith||Canterbury||Christchurch Bulldogs|
|Declan Crann||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Ethan Halton||Auckland||AFLNZ Academy|
|Harison Manks||Auckland||University Blues|
|Hayden Johnston||Otago||Otago Riot|
|Heta Scarf-Mathews||Otago||Otago Riot|
|Jackson Clince||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|Jackson Hemmingsen||Auckland||AFLNZ Academy|
|Jacob Tucker||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|James Dakin||Auckland||Central Giants|
|James McKenzie||Auckland||Mt Roskill Saints|
|James Kusel||Wellington||Hutt Valley Eagles|
|Jay Johnson||Canterbury||Eastern Blues|
|Jed Williams||Canterbury||Eastern Blues|
|Jerome Goodhue||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Joe Baker-Thomas||Melbourne||Packenham FC|
|Joel Brown||Auckland||Manurewa Raiders|
|Joey Alesich-Tamarki||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|Josh Mackie||Otago||Otago Riot|
|Josh Copeland||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Josh Allen||Bay of Plenty||Northern Suns|
|Josh Cunliffe||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|Josh Morgan-Ranui||Wellington||North City Demons|
|Liam Beattie||Auckland||University Blues|
|Luke Dunning||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Luke Williams||Auckland||Howick Hornets|
|Manny Snooks||Northland||AFLNZ Academy|
|Michael Boyce||Auckland||Mt Roskill Saints|
|Misilifi Faimalo||Wellington||North City Demons|
|Mitch Ryan||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|Mykelti Lefau||Melbourne||Casey Demons|
|Ryan White||Auckland||Howick Hornets|
|Nick Rhodes||Canterbury||University Cougars|
|Sam Anderson||Canterbury||Ashburton Eagles|
|Sam Mckenzie||Auckland||Mt Roskill Saints|
|Shane Leat||Auckland||Waitakere Magpies|
|Shem Tatupu||Melbourne||Pines FC|
|Tayne Lockwood||Wellington||North City Demons|
|Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas||Waikato||North Shore Tigers|
|Tim Stokes||Auckland||University Blues|
|Ty Smith||Auckland||North Shore Tigers|
|William Gregson||Melbourne||Dromana Tigers|
|William Dickinson||Auckland||Mt Roskill Saints|
|William Kempt||Wellington||Wellington Saints|