The series between the Hawks and the South Pacific Academy concluded with an awards ceremony. For a series played in such a good spirit, it was fitting that the teams recognised their opposition with awards.
The presentation began with a speech from AFLNZ CEO Rob Vanstam. He saluted both teams, and spoke of the progress being made in developing the sport outside of Australia.
The awards being chosen by the South Pacific coaching staff were given out by Dave Lake. His team may have lost twice, but he accurately described his players as having a “mountain of talent.”
The players from South Pacific recognised by their own team were Benny Miller, who had a stunning first match, and Alphonse Jambaro for the second. The New Zealand coaches also gave out awards to the South Pacific players, recognising the talents of James McKenzie and Kade Riddell.
All the South Pacific boys tried to sneak off before having to take a photo, none succeeded.
Justin Davies was the representative of the Hawks during the presentation. He declared Andrew Howison as the MVP for game 1, though he couldn’t be at the ceremony as he had rejoined his club team in Melbourne. Andy Christensen was declared the best player for the Hawks in game 1 by Dave Lake.
Michael Gregson was recognised as the best player for the Hawks in game 2. Unfortunately his speech was cut short by a bruised larynx he had sustained in game 1.
The ceremony concluded with further words from Rob Vanstam, who encouraged all the participants to come back next year. A similar series between the two teams is planned for Anzac week in 2014.
Finally, physio Jenny Lucy brought everyone back down to earth by reminding the players that they had ice baths waiting for them in the changing rooms.
South Pacific Ben Miller for South Pacific & Andy Christensen for New Zealand
New Zealand Andrew Howison for New Zealand & James McKenzie for South Pacific
South Pacific Alphonse Jambaro
New Zealand Michael Gregson for New Zealand & Kade Riddell for South Pacific