The North Shore Tigers are the 2017 Auckland AFL minor premiers after defeating the Howick Hornets by 3 goals at Paparoa Domain. The Tigers finish the home and away season in first place ahead of the Waitakere Magpies on percentage. They will meet Mt Roskill in the semi finals after the Saints crawled their way to fourth position and were upset by the Manurewa Raiders who claimed their first victory of the season.
It was a heart stopping finish in the Grand Final rematch between the University Blues and Waitakere Magpies as the defending premiers held on to win by four points and will prepare to meet the Blues again in the semi finals.
Howick Hornets vs North Shore Tigers
18th November, 2.00pm, Paparoa Domain, Howick.
The Howick Hornets have made a huge impression in 2017 and were looking to finish the season on a high whereas the North Shore Tigers were looking to get the win and claim the 2017 Auckland AFL minor Premiership.
Kicking with the wind in the first quarter, the Hornets midfield set the tone early on in the game winning the ball in tight contests and releasing the ball to the hard onballers who delivered quality football to full forward Andrew Azzopardi.
The Hornets were able to slow North Shore’s game down with their defensive pressure and went into the quarter time break leading by seven points.
The Tigers looked to capitalise kicking with the wind in the second quarter and even with the Hornets dropping two extra men back in defence, the Tigers managed to kick three goals and regain the lead at half time.
After the main break, the Hornets worked well in transitioning the ball out from their own defence and used the corridor to get the ball into their forward line. But the Tigers defence worked tirelessly to shut down the attack of the Hornets with key defender Mitch Ryan working well with Josh White and Joey Alesich-Tamariki to rebound the ball out from their back line.
With a victory on their minds, Howick decided to play aggressive, attacking football in the final quarter to try and achieve an historic victory. Hornets ruckman Andrew Cook gave the hornets a great starting point for there midfield to get there hands on the footy but the work rate of Justin Du Toit and ever growing first year player Nate Spoonley, the Tigers had the run to seal the win against a vastly improving Howick Hornets by 18 points and claim their first minor premiership in over 20 years.
“I am incredibly proud of how far this team has improved over the season. Having lost to North Shore by 71 points back in round four to the narrow defeat today shows where we are at. This team has only been together for one season and we are hungry for more in 2018.” Hornets skipper Ryan White.
“Very pleased with the result today and full credit to Howick who fought all game. We had a number of experienced players unavailable for this match which gave us a real opportunity to challenge the younger players to step up. The boys did that and we will now focus on Mt Roskill next weekend back at home.” Tigers Head Coach Mitch Ryan.
University Blues vs Waitakere Magpies
19th November, 2.00pm, Colin Maiden Park, Glen Innes.
It was a six goal victory to the defending premiers the last time these two sides met back in Round 4 and it was another typical hard, physical and intense University vs Waitakere encounter yesterday.
Both sides traded goals early and kicking with the wind in the first quarter, University were unable to convert their opportunities and the Magpies went into the break a goal in front.
The Magpies swooped in the second quarter as University lowered their pressure and intensity around the contest. This gave Carlos Donnell-Brown free reign to control the midfield and use the wind to get the ball into the Waitakere forward line. The Magpies kicked five unanswered goals with three of those goals coming off the boot of Ben Hutton to head into the main break with a healthy lead.
University were back playing their best footy in the second half as they got themselves back into the game. New Zealand and Blues midfielder Ben Hick was in fine form and Stephen Parton was strong up front taking some well contested marks.
The Blues controlled the ball, defended hard and had repeat entries into the forward line and got themselves to within a goal at three quarter time.
Inaccuracy in front of goal hurt University on the scoreboard as they had multiple opportunities to edged in front.
Waitakere’s only goal in the second half came from a turn over in the back 50, delivered to the corridor and again delivered in front of goals to have Dan McGregor run in the goal which sealed the game for the defending Premiers.
“A near perfect first half from us is what we have been searching for all season, but some positional changes in the second seemed to be the difference for us and we nearly paid for it. But welcoming back a few key player this week will boost the morale for the semis and want to end our season at Parrs park on a high and head into another Grand Final.” Waitakere Captain Shane Leat.
“More scoring shots, and tight defence in the second half gives us great belief heading into what will no doubt be another classic semi final.” University Head Coach Chris Mundell.
Manurewa Raiders vs Mt Roskill Saints
19th November, 2.00pm, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.
The Saints were convincing winners by 113 points back in round four but as they as done all season, the Raiders weren’t going to give in and fight until the end.
With a strong wind favouring one end of the ground, Mt Roskill elected to kick with the wind to gain an early advantage over Manurewa.
In the second quarter, the Raiders kicked into gear and a man of the match performance from Joel Brown made a mark on the game controlling the midfield alongside Vandyn Hartman. Alex Fakatoumafi was dominating up front for the Raiders, while their defence was strong holding the Saints to only 1 behind as Manurewa took a 10 point lead into the main break.
The Manurewa defence was put under pressure again in the third quarter as Mt Roskill continued their attack with the wind behind them. Roger White was clinical for the Raiders and stunted their attack to only concede three goals for the quarter.
In a tense final quarter, Manurewa withstood early pressure from the Saints but managed to find a second gear to get the ball in their forward line and convert five goals to seal a famous 18 point victory.
Next week’s Auckland AFL semi finals will see the North Shore Tigers will host the Mt Roskill Saints at Onepoto Domain while Waitakere and University will play each other for the second time in as many weeks at Parrs Park in West Auckland.
Story – AAFL