Following on from consecutive victories against Nauru and Fiji in the 2017 International Cup, it is worth reflecting firstly on the amount of countries that have embraced the new sport of AFL but more importantly the reflection of the New Zealand community that exists within the New Zealand AFL team.
Andriu and Brandon Sucu were lucky enough to play against their fathers homeland Fiji recently in what they rate as a once in a lifetime experience.
Misilifi Faimalo is of Samoan Heritage with both parents migrating to New Zealand before he was born and he is also excited to play a sport that he sees accessible to all countries.
Shane Leat’s grandparents hail from Tonga whilst on the other end of the scale, North Shore Tigers and Southern Saints midfielder Josh Cunliffe was born in England.
Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas’ Maori heritage is showcased by the Haka each time the national side fronts a new opponent.
Key defender Adam Simpson has connections with Scotland through his Grandparents whilst Joe Baker-Thomas has no fewer than four countries associated with his heritage.
When the team hits the paddock in the final week of the 2017 International Cup the players are hopeful that history on the MCG will also become part of their culture and heritage.