The Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs are looking to keep alive the longest premiership streak in Wellington AFL history, seeking a 6th straight flag from the 2018 season.
The Wellington City Saints, however, started training early with a strong, organised group well before the rest of the Clubs with the hope of knocking the top Dogs off their throne! Coach Gregor Kempt has been prepping his Saints, hoping that the third time’s the charm at the Grand Final this season!
The Hutt Valley Eagles will once again be led by former NZ player and Northern Suns Captain James Kusel.
Kusel will have a strong support cast with former NZ age grade player Daniel Annand, Wellington Tiger Kade Riddell and new recruit Northern Suns Full Forward Peter van Kampen making the move to Wellington from the North Shore Tigers (AAFL).
In what could be an even bigger coup, the Eagles have managed to acquire the services of Former New Zealand Senior Captain Andrew Crighton to hold the clipboard and command the sidelines.
The North City Demons have struggled for numbers in years past, despite having more NZ Reps than any other club in the WAFL, however with the combined help of the WAFL behind them this year, they are looking to make a strong showing on the field.
They have plenty of talent in their ranks; are they the dark horse set to ruin the Bulldogs parade this year?
Behind the scenes, the Wellington AFL (WAFL) has had a major overhaul of its committee, as well as the rules that govern the league as an incorporated body. There are several main focuses of the WAFL for season 2018, but they boiled down to providing a better product – that is the game of AFL, for those in the Wellington region. This will be achieved through:
- More closely aligning with the vision of AFL New Zealand, electing Rebecca Smith as AFLNZ Representative
- Focusing on Youth development, with the hopes of providing a pathway for young players in the region, electing Renaldo Christians as Youth Academy Representative
- Providing a strong, respected, independent umpiring team, which will raise the quality of play on match day, electing Hugh Wilson as Independent Umpire Representative
Everyone in the Wellington region is looking forward to the upcoming season, and to see what positive impact these behind-the-scenes changes have made!
The nine-round WAFL 2018 Season is set to kick off on 30 Sept at Hutt Park, with the Grand final on 9 Dec.