The Central Auckland Junior Hawks Cup Cluster Tournament for 2013 has been held, with boys from One Tree Hill College beating St Paul’s College and Marcellin College for the trophy. The tournament was held at St Paul’s College in Ponsonby.
The Junior Hawks Cup constitutes the first step on the AFL New Zealand High Performance Pathway. Athletes that make an impression in these competitions can be rewarded with invitiations to the AFL New Zealand Combine programme, from which the very best are selected to represent New Zealand at age group level.
Running in conjunction with the Hawks Cup was the Central Auckland Play AFL Club, which operates every Tuesday afternoon at St Paul’s College. More than 40 children participated in AFL KiwiKick on the sidelines, with many staying to watch some of the high quality AFL being played on the main field.
St Paul’s College earned the first victory of the tournament, beating Marcellin College in a tough contest. After a tight first half, St Paul’s took control and ran away with the game. The final score was 7.4:46 – 2.1:13.
One Tree Hill College then entered the field, taking on a tired Marcellin College. Using the wind to their advantage, they blitzed the goalposts, shooting out to a 5.4:34 – 0.0:0 lead at half time. Marcellin College fought back admirably, and managed to hold the line more effectively on defence in the 2nd half. The final score was 7.8:50 – 0.0:0.
With the points table squared on one win each, the last match of the day between St Paul’s College and One Tree Hill College took on an atmosphere of a final. With both teams showing a willingness to attack, the match was free flowing and exciting. One Tree Hill College again effectively used the wind, knocking over six goals in the first half.
With the match effectively over, St Paul’s College began to string together some lovely moves to set up goals. One Tree Hill were still too strong though, taking their opportunities on goal clinically. The final score was 12.3:75 – 3.1:19.
Mark McKenzie and Greg Boxhall from the Hawthorn Football Club were in attendance, scouting potential players to offer AFL International Scholarships. At present, three young New Zealanders currently hold an International Scholarship with the club, including Siope Ngata of Aorere College, who was the MVP at last year’s North Island Junior Hawks Cup.
The support of teachers and student coaches is important for the continued success of the Hawks Cup. One Tree Hill College were led by Terry Kimiangatau. Gary Sullivan coached Marcellin College. St Paul’s College were coached by Joseph Cunningham, with Adam Rice assisting.
Further Hawks Cup cluster tournaments will be taking place around the country over the coming weeks. The Junior Hawks Cup programme will culminate in the North Island and South Island Hawks Cups, where school teams will have the opportunity to secure the title of being the best AFL team on their island.
The current North Island title holders are Kelston Boys High School. One Tree Hill College competed in the last North Island Junior Hawks Cup, and will be looking to challenge for the title this year. St Paul’s College will also be entering a team, and looking to improve on last year’s effort of 3 wins from 5 matches.
Fixtures and Results:
St Paul’s College 7.4:46 – 2.1:13 Marcellin College
One Tree Hill College 7.8:50 – 0.0:0 Marcellin College
St Paul’s College 3.1:19 – 12.3:75 One Tree Hill College