The AFL North Island Junior Secondary School Championships have been taken out by Southern Cross Campus, who showed their class across the fiercely contested tournament.
With seven schools competing, including the winners of five Regional Cluster Tournaments, the competition saw a high standard of play.
Daniel King, the Head of P.E. from Southern Cross Campus, lauded the work his whole school had put towards the competition win.
“It’s been a long process, we’ve been here about 5 or 6 years, ever since its been running and always been close. The older boys, the ones now in Year 13 encourage the younger ones to do it and support them. There’s a culture at Southern Cross where AFL is a successful sport and gives the boys an opportunity to do well, and the kids get a lot of rewards from that. The school is very supportive so credit for them for the time and effort they put in.”
For Southern Cross, the victory was an improvement on their efforts in the 2013 competition, where they placed 2nd behind One Tree Hill College.
Southern Cross’ win was build on a solid foundation of sound and steady defence, which gave the forwards confidence to play attacking football.
The competition was split into two pools, with one playing longer matches to compensate for playing fewer games. Lining up in pool A were Aorere College, Waitakere College, St Paul’s College and Northcote College. In Pool B, Southern Cross Campus were joined by Kerikeri High School and One Tree Hill College.
The tournament began with huge wins to Southern Cross campus over their two opponents, clinically running up big scores through clever and focused play. Kerikeri High School provided a challenge to them, kicking five goals, but weren’t able to hold back the tide on defence.
The final match of Pool B saw Kerikeri High School demolish One Tree Hill College, with their defence in particular so tight that they did not concede a single goal.
In Pool A, Waitakere College and St Paul’s College grabbed early wins against Aorere College and Northcote College respectively, with Waitakere College’s winning by a matter of a few behinds.
The next rounds of Pool A saw three extremely close matches. First up Northcote College dug deep to snatch a win from Aorere College by a single point. The next match saw Waitakere College just managing to turn their fewer number of goals into a 3 point win against St Paul’s College, thanks to a large tally of behinds.
Another close match followed with Waitakere College managing to kick a goal right on the siren to win by two points over Northcote College, and with that secure a place in the final. The last match of the group saw St Paul’s take 2nd place thanks to a strong win over Aorere College.
For the finals, each team played their opposite seed, with the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams playing first. Northcote College secured 5th place with a hard fought win over One Tree Hill College, while St Paul’s College earned the 3rd place in the competition with a win over Kerikeri High School.
The final of the competition was played between the winners of the Counties and Waitakere Hawks Cup regional cluster tournaments. Southern Cross Campus proved to be far too strong for Waitakere College, running out to a 9.9:63 – 1.1:7 victory. Southern Cross took advantage of the wind in the first half, before negating any chance for Waitakere to get back into the match through clever midfield play while pushing into the wind.
The overall Player of the Tournament was Sam Lauhingoa from Southern Cross, who was also a key figure in the Counties Junior Hawks Cup cluster tournament.
Many of the players involved in the Hawks Cup have been rewarded with invitations to be part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance Programme. Members of this programme take part in development, training and matches, before having the opportunity to represent New Zealand.
The AFL Junior Secondary School North Island Championships were made possible in part through the work of teachers at competing schools, and the efforts of volunteers from local clubs who play in the the Auckland AFL competition.
Teachers and Volunteers:
One Tree Hill College: Teacher Ashleigh Ryan was team manager with University Blues player Howard Gilbert as match day coach.
Aorere College: Teacher in charge was Ben Vaipaata.
Northcote College: Teachers in charge were Sam Wilson and Paul Hewson.
Kerikeri High School: Teacher in charge was Bettina Simpson.
St Paul’s College: Teachers in charge were Mike Jarvis and Joe Cunningham.
Waitakere College: Teacher in charge was Joey Te Whata.
Southern Cross Campus: Teacher in charge was Daniel King.
Volunteers from various local AFL clubs were also in attendance, with Noora Packer and Justin du Toit from the North Shore Tigers and Josh Copeland from the Waitakere Magpies assisting. For umpires, the tournament was well served by Mark Andrews and George Hauiti from the Auckland AFL.
AFL New Zealand offers a wide range of both Curriculum and Competition based programmes to Secondary Schools, many of which take place within P.E classes. Daniel King noted the benefits of taking part in the AFL Secondary School Curriculum programmes.
“I think that’s our strength, that we expose the sport to the whole school through P.E, and from that we get the best kids.”
The AFL North Island Junior Secondary School Championships is sanctioned by the New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council.
AFL Junior Secondary School North Island Championships Results
Aorere College 3.4:22 lost to Waitakere College 3.9:27
Northcote College 3.2:20 lost to St Paul’s College 7.5:47
Northcote College 5.3:33 beat Aorere College 5.2:32
Waitakere College 3.10:28 beat St Paul’s College 4.1:25
Northcote College 4.4:28 lost to Waitakere College 4.6:30
St Paul’s College 7.2: 44 beat Aorere College 2.7:19
Southern Cross Campus 13.12:90 beat One Tree Hill College 1.3:9
Southern Cross Campus 15.7:97 beat Kerikeri High School 5.6:36
Kerikeri High School 14.10:94 beat One Tree Hill College 0.5:5
5th place playoff: Northcote College 6.4:40 beat One Tree Hill College 3.0:18
3rd place playoff: St Paul’s College 5.5:35 beat Kerikeri High School 2.1:13
Final: Southern Cross Campus 9.9:63 beat Waitakere College 1.1:7
Best and Fairest
One Tree Hill College: Demetrious Moala
Aorere College: Nash Godinet
Northcote College: Lewis Barrow
Kerikeri High School: Robbie McBain
St Paul’s College: Cullen Marsters
Waitakere College: Maui Rawiri
Southern Cross Campus: Desmond To’ofohe
Tournament MVP: Sam Lauhingoa