St Paul’s College have avenged their defeat in the 2013 Junior Hawks Cup, beating One Tree Hill College to retake the Central Auckland cluster trophy.
In a wind affected contest, St Paul’s overcame a half time deficit, growing in confidence over the 2nd half and kicking long goals accurately.
Earlier in the Central Auckland cluster tournament, both St Pauls College and One Tree Hill College defeated Western Springs College.
Western Springs were far from disgraced by the results, kicking goals in both contests and competing hard against bigger and more physical opposition.
The first match of the tournament saw St Paul’s take on Western Springs. At half time, only 4 points seperated the teams. However in the 2nd half St Paul’s pulled away, kicking 3 goals to 1 to record a 5.4:34 – 2.5:17 win.
Next Western Springs faced One Tree Hill College, and again the first half was very close. The superior accuracy of One Tree Hill College kept them in front at half time, and in the 2nd half they dominated possesion and territory to record a 6.4:40-2.4:16 win.
In what was effectively a final, One Tree Hill College started strong to lead 2.2:14-1.3:9 at the break. However, with the wind against them in the 2nd half, and St Paul’s College overhauled the score early. Going on to kick 4 goals to 1 in the quarter, St Paul’s took the match 5.5:35 – 3.2:20.
Daymon Abbey led from the front for St Paul’s, earning himself a Best and Fairest award for his team.
For One Tree Hill, the Best and Fairest winner was Eric Zachery.
One Tree Hill are the current North Island Champions of AFL, a title they will seek to defend this weekend at the North Island Junior Secondary School AFL Championships, to be held at the Trusts Arena on the 15th and 16 of November.
Schools competing in the top division of that tournament will include other cluster tournament winners Waitakere College, Southern Cross Campus, Northcote College and Kerikeri High School. Southern Cross are expected to be tough to beat, and will be looking to improve on their 2nd place finish at the North Island Champs last year.
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.
High Performance players often choose to give back to the sport through coaching. Two of the competiting schools were led by members of the High Performance Programme.
Western Springs College were coached by New Zealand Hawks and Auckland player and U18 NZ Hawks coach Chris Mundell. One Tree Hill College had the benefit of coaching from Mitchell Ryan, former Under 18 New Zealand Hawks player and current North Shore Tigers representative.
St Pauls’ College were coached by the experienced teacher Joe Cunningham, who has been part of multiple Hawks Cup campaigns with his school.
St Paul’s College 5.4:34 beat Western Springs 2.5:17
One Tree Hill College 6.4:40 beat Western Springs 2.4:16
St Paul’s College 5.5:35 beat One Tree Hill College 3.2:20