David Abetz will remain as head coach of the Northern Suns for 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership Season.
Assistant Coach of the 2016 Premiership winners the Western Crows, Abetz took over the head coach role at the Suns at the start of the 2017 season and took them from their fourth place in the 2016 Premiership to finish second (and only one win away from the winning the Premiership) in 2017.
Awarded the 2016 AFL New Zealand Coach of the Year, Dave has progressed well through the AFL New Zealand High Performance Programme and his work as lead coach with the AFL New Zealand Academy Level 1 team in 2016 was followed by the Level 2 Academy side in 2017. The challenges of transitioning young talent through to the Premiership is viewed as an asset to the sports development in New Zealand.
Dave is the current coach of the Manurewa Raiders in the Auckland AFL and his involvement in junior talent programmes and a variety of coaching roles within the New Zealand Academy teams, will put him in good stead for the upcoming season.
The Suns unearthed a number of stars during the 2017 season with Jackson Clince being the highlight. After an outstanding debut season under the tutelage of Abetz, Clince went on to represent New Zealand at the 2017 International Cup and Dave hopes that he can develop more young players to reach higher honours.
“After finishing second, and just missing out on the Premiership last season, I am looking forward to the challenge of guiding the Suns onto even greater results this year. With the number of players developing strongly over last season, culminating in a number of debutants for the New Zealand Senior side, and some strong recruitment, we are looking to go all the way this year.”
With a number of talented participants from the Regional Youth Programmes now commencing their senior football careers in the Premiership, there will an ongoing connection that he has with many of the star recruits.