Nominees for 2018 AFL New Zealand Senior Men’s Player of the Year

AFL New Zealand would like to congratulate the following nominees for the 2018 AFL New Zealand Senior Men’s Player of the Year. 


The winner will be announced at the 2018 High Performance Awards which will be held on Sunday the 22nd of April at Mac’s Function Centre in Wellington.


Congratulations to all the nominees!


Andrew Howison

New Zealand Senior Captain Andrew Howison led his side to the 2017 AFL International Cup Grand Final last August after starring in all five games throughout the tournament.

In one of his finest achievements in his AFL Career, his performance in the tournament saw him named as the Captain of the 2017 International Cup World Team.

Andrew won the Senior Men’s Player of the Year award for three straight years from 2014-2016.


Barclay Miller

St Kilda Football Club International scholarship holder Barclay Miller has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months.

From Canterbury in the South Island, Barclay was spotted by St Kilda playing Basketball in Christchurch and made the move to Melbourne in 2016 to pursue his AFL Career.

Playing in the forward line for New Zealand at the International Cup, Miller was the leading goal kicker for the tournament which was highlighted by his goal after the siren to send the New Zealand side to the Grand Final played on the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.


Ben Hick

Hard running midfielder Ben Hick was a standout for the Premiership winning Southern Saints in the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership.

The 28 year old made his International Cup debut in 2017 and was named in the World Team after a tremendous tournament.

Ben made his NZ debut back in 2010 against Tonga after picking up the game in 2008 as a substitute to playing Rugby.


James Kusel

James Kusel is a strong Centre Half Forward and although being a dominant figure in the New Zealand football landscape during his 13 year AFL New Zealand career, James made his debut at the 2017 International Cup.

Captain of the Northern Suns in the AFL New Zealand Premiership, James was the third member in the New Zealand side to be named in International Cup World Team.

James has a Rugby background and has taken up the sport of Muay Thai so best not make him mad on the footy field.


Te Kopa Tipene Thomas

Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas is a young man who exemplifies the best of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme.

Originally hailing from Northland and now based in Hamilton, Te Kopa was one of the in form players during the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership and continued this form when he made his second appearance at the AFL International Cup in August.

The fourth and final NZ squad member to be selected in the 2017 World Team, Te Kopa carved up the competition in all five games.

The 20 year old has previously been the recipient of two U16 player of the year’s awards and it is his first time nominated in this category.