The North Shore Tigers have claimed the 2020 Auckland AFL Premiership in style, putting on a stunning display of finals footy to defeat the University Blues by 53 points at North Harbour Stadium.
The Tiger’s had been the benchmark all season and were searching for their first Premiership since 2017, while the Blues were aiming for their third Premiership in a row.
With a heavy wind blowing to the eastern end of the ground, the Tigers got off to an early lead, kicking 2 goals in the opening term. Uni played well in the first term but the Tigers backline of Simon Rajwer and Dan Pearce worked hard to work the ball out of defence, keeping Uni to only 1 behind for the quarter.
Xavier Rice was one of North Shore’s best in the first half. Rice was everywhere as he ran hard around the ground to create some great link play to get the ball into the Tiger’s inside 50.
The defending Premiers got themselves back into the game in the second quarter. Ben Hick, Reef Bainbridge and Lachlan Salmon all had a strong quarter as the Blues kicked 3 goals to go into the half time break only 6 points down.
It was the third quarter where the Tiger’s won the game. With the wind at their backs, North Shore kicked 7 goals, while holding the Blues to only 1 point for the quarter. Dale Johnson kicked 2 long range goals while small forwards Josh Cunliffe and Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas were at the fall of nearly every contest.
Justin Gauci was awarded a free kick right on siren and when the ball went sailing through the middle of the goals, the Tigers were up by 47 points and the supporters erupted from the sideline.
The Tiger’s continued their momentum in the final quarter and when centre half forward Mitch Ryan kicked his third goal of the game, the Premiership was theirs.
North Shore midfielder Dale Johnson was judged the best player on the field and took home the ‘Wells Medal’ for 2020 after a strong game and 2 goals.
The Uni Blues lined up to cheer off their outgoing coach Chris Mundell, who announced his retirement from the game. Chris won 9 Premierships in his time with the Blues.
“Firstly, I like to thank the Uni Blues on a terrific game. They have been the benchmark club for the past 15 years and they continue to set the standard in the AAFL. From our point of view, we had a plan in 2020, we learned from our mistakes from year’s gone by and recruited well. The message of ‘living in the moment’ was key, and our result reflected in this great club, its past and future.” Sean Mayes, North Shore Tigers.
“Congratulations to the Tiger’s on winning the trophy today. They have been the best club all season long and they deserve this one.” Chris Mundell, University.
North Shore Tigers – 14.3: 87
University Blues – 5.4: 34
That concludes the Auckland AFL 2020 season.
The Auckland AFL executive would like to thank all the players, coaches, umpires, volunteers and supporters for their contributions over the season and look forward to welcoming you all back in 2021.
Story – AAFL.co.nz
- Giants stun Saints with fourth quarter flurry
- From Auckland to the AFL, Mykelti Lefau a Richmond Tiger
- BREAKING: Former Falcon set to sign with Richmond for the 2024 AFL Season
- AFLNZ Academy Footy Frenzy Weekend to Hit North Harbour Stadium in Auckland
- Youth Programme’s Auckland Hubs have a successful season