The NZ Falcons will play their first game in over 2 years, as they take on a NZ All Stars side in a one off game on Saturday, September 25th at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
The weekend will involve the congregation of squad members throughout New Zealand for a scheduled match at North Harbour Stadium at 12.00 noon followed by viewing of the AFL Grand Final, with fitness and match reviews the following day.
In a first for AFL New Zealand, the game will be an addition to the calendar and provide a solid contest for players currently playing at the highest level. With international travel restriction starting to abate it is expected that a surge of opportunities will present themselves to the New Zealand Teams Programme.
Initial training squads for the Falcons and All Stars will be selected following the last two rounds of the AFL New Zealand Premiership. A nominated selection panel from each of the Regional leagues will also be engaged to provide nominations for talent outside the current AFL New Zealand Premiership pool. Following selection squad members will be provided with detail on fitness criteria as well as lead in training schedules.
In preparation for the reinstatement of an international calendar, a New Zealand Kahu Development Squad will also attend the weekend at North Harbour Stadium. The NZ Kahu Women’s team was set to play its inaugural representative match in the 2020 International Cup cancelled due to Covid. They will also be presented with training and development opportunities over the two day period to prepare for a newly formed High Performance calendar.
The historical representative teams of Senior Men’s & Women’s , Under 18, Academy level 1 & 2 and Youth Girls, will see the addition of an Under 21 Falcons to the New Zealand Teams portfolio. The team has been created specifically for the age group most effected by the Covid interrupted High Performance calendar. Performances throughout the AFLNZ Premiership, the All Stars New Zealand Falcons clash and performances within regional competitions, will be used to assess New Zealand Under 21 representatives. The finalisation of a calendar for the newly developed team will be announced in coming months.
The current panel of AFL New Zealand coaches will also require review and assessment and the September weekend will be the perfect time to reignite High Performance development pathways.
The New Zealand Falcons last took to the field on April, 26th 2019 against the AFL Academy side on Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. The involvement of Australian based players will be monitored and assessed dependent on Australian based commitments and travel restrictions.