The road to representing New Zealand as part of the U18 New Zealand Kahus has begun for a group of talented female athletes.
The goal for these players will be to represent the U18 New Zealand Kahus in the two series planned for the year.
The first series will take place against the Australian Youth Girls in October. Two matches will be played against the best young footballers from Australia, in a repeat of last year’s inaugural series. This series marked the debut for female AFL New Zealand representation.
The second will take place against the U16 Woomeras, who are made up of the best female Australian Indigenous footballers. This two match series will take place in December.
The preparation for these series will include trainings, match practice and skill development sessions. A highlight of the training programme will be the combined squad trainings, designed to include both the Auckland and Northland contingents, in a simulated match environment.
Among the group of athletes attending the trial were players from last year’s Under 18 New Zealand Kahus team, who showed that they had maintained their skills throughout slick handballing and kicking drills.
The experience of these players will be crucial leading into the competitive matches, and they will be expected to provide leadership and advice for the newer members of the squad. Their impact has already been felt, after the group of returning players provided feedback requesting more frequent training sessions.
The final team will be selected on the 17th of September. AFL New Zealand High Performance National Development Manager Mick Coultard will coach the team, with Noradene Paniora taking on the Manager role.