St Kilda visit Auckland for Community Camp

The St Kilda Saints have made a visit to Auckland for the AFL Community Camp, meeting AFL players, fans and community organisations in New Zealand’s largest city.

A highlight of the AFL Community Camp was the visit of the Saints to Aorere College in South Auckland, along with Aorere student and AFL International Scholarship holder Giovanni Mountain Silbery. Saints players ran coaching drills and a game of AFL, and passed on skills and knowledge to students who eagerly took it all in.

Other groups of players also visited Wellington and Christchurch over the period of the Community Camp.

The visit to Auckland was jam packed with public appearances, school visits, training sessions and community engagement opportunities.

School visits included coaching of AFL KiwiKick skills, the programme that has been the bedrock of AFL in New Zealand over recent years.

With the support of Sport Auckland, Counties Manukau Sport, Sport Waitakere, Harbour Sport, the ASB Community Trust and other Regional Sporting Trusts and Community organisations, AFL KiwiKick is delivered to more than 30,000 children every year, teaching them fundamental movement skills and encouraging a lifelong love of sport. The participation of so many children in the programme was particularly influential in securing top level AFL matches in Wellington.

St Kilda Saints players visited schools in the West and Centre of Auckland on Tuesday, seeing children at Freemans Bay School, Rosebank School, Richmond Road Primary and Avondale School.

On Wednesday they saw schools in the Harbour and Counties Manukau regions, visiting Bairds Mainfreight Primary, Northcote College, Aorere College and Murrays Bay Intermediate.

The events didn’t end there, with St Kilda players also passing on their skills at an AFL New Zealand High Performance programme training session. The athletes involved with the programme were thrilled to have the opportunity to train alongside fully fledged AFL players, who were generous with their time and their knowledge.

Another highlight of the trip for local AFL players was the attendance of St Kilda Saints at an NPC team training session. The players travelling to Wellington to defend their NPC title this weekend learned a lot from the top level players at the training session.

A few Saints players also got the chance to have a kick on the field at Eden Park, describing it as “a ripping surface.” The visit to Eden Park raised the tantalising prospect of a top level AFL game being played in Auckland in future.

For the Saints, the visit to New Zealand hasn’t ended yet. Their next stop is Queenstown, where the squad will gather for a training camp to build fitness for next year’s AFL season.

The Community Camp will have cemented the loyalties of many New Zealanders towards the Saints. With the club making Wellington and New Zealand their home away from home, New Zealanders are making the Saints their team of choice.