The NZ Youth Girls Kahu have completed their most successful campaign to date coming up against the Peninsula Saints Youth Girls over ANZAC weekend.
It is the first time a female team from the AFL South East region has travelled over to New Zealand and comes off the back of the successful Peninsula Saints U16 Boys trip in Wellington 2015.
The Kahu had a number of new representatives along with returning players who competed in their most recent campaign against the Indigenous Woomera’s side back in December 2015.
In her first game of AFL, 13-year-old Baradene College student Valentina Serrano debuted for the Kahu and was awarded best on ground in game 1 by head coach Mick Coultard. Her ability to quickly adapt to the game of AFL meant that she positioned herself to receive the ball on many occasions.
Massey High School students Meretiana Ropana and Jolyn Collins were outstanding for the Kahu. Collins, who will be representing NZ as she plays for Tasmania in the AFL National Youth Girls Championships in early May continued her good form from the Woomera’s campaign as she fought hard for the ball and provided a good link moving the ball up the field. Ropana was on debut for the Kahu and found a home in the backline where her attack on the ball was relentless for the whole campaign. Her ability to stop the ball from reaching opposition hands will make her a valuable asset for the Kahu in future campaigns.
Captain Kayla Paniora from Western Springs College was once again pivotal for the Kahu. Paniora started both games in defence but when switched to the forward line, she took strong marks and also provided the Kahu with a few goals.
The NZ Kahu were narrowly defeated in both games but produced some great footy as they recorded their highest ever score during Game 1. Both games were played with tremendous spirit by both teams and commend the efforts of both coaches and all players in the way both teams played.
A special thank you goes out to Jeremy Bourke, Cam Roberts and Richard Brennan from AFL South East for bringing their girls team over. AFLNZ look forward to seeing you again next year.
Also, a big thanks to management, umpires and all the parents and supporters who showed tremendous support for the girls.
“Once a Kahu, always a Kahu”
Goals: Behinds: Total: 7 1 43 5 5 35
NZ Kahu Youth Girls: Valentina Serrano
NZ Kahu Youth Girls: Jolyn Collins
Peninsula Saints Youth Girls: Izabel Geleit
Peninsula Saints Youth Girls: Jasmin Mandile
NZ Kahu Youth Girls: Kayla Paniora
NZ Kahu Youth Girls: Meretiana Ropana
Peninsula Saints Youth Girls: Emma Pugh
Peninsula Saints Youth Girls: Tayla Prentice