The Hornets buzz and Tigers roar in opening round of the Auckland AFL

It has been an exciting start to the 2019 Auckland AFL season as the Howick Hornets AFL have claimed a first up win as they defeated the Waitakere Magpies by 9 points.


The North Shore Tigers and Mt Roskill Saints put on a end to end game which saw the Tigers kick a few last minute goals to win by 15 points while the defending Premiers have picked up where they left off as the Uni Blues slotted 20 goals to defeat the Manurewa Raiders.


Manurewa Raiders vs University Blues

1st September, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.

Playing University in Round 1 following their Premiership is daunting for any club and Manurewa drew the short straw to face them in the opening round.

With a number of new players in the side including Premiership and NZ Falcons star Reed Cathcart, it was about control and cohesion early for the Blues, which they managed to execute well.

The experienced players assisted greatly in this and worked well to bring the new faces into the game.

A flurry of early goals set up the 135 point win with James Considine providing a key target up front.

Blues ruckman Patrick Landy was providing some clean tap work to the Uni midfielders and had the ball being delivered quickly and effectively for most of the game to gain the centre clearance.

For the majority of the match it was one way traffic but Manurewa did show glimpses of what they can produce with Ronan Morling being the standout for the Raiders.

The Raiders backline of Caleb Shirtcliffe, Brandon Phillips and Tou Dodds never gave up all game but were outplayed by the experience of the University forwards.

It was a big statement from the defending Premiers, but we will get more of a gauge to where they are at when they come up against Howick next Sunday.

“A first up road trip is always tough but the desire to continue to play Uni Blues footy throughout the game was most pleasing – especially in a situation where it could have easily been about individual pursuits.” Uni Blues Coach, Chris Mundell.


Howick Hornets vs Waitakere Magpies

1st September, Paparoa Park, Howick.

In what was a great start to their 2019 season, the Howick Hornets defeated the Waitakere Magpies in a thrilling game of footy in Auckland’s East.

The Hornets got off to a great start to the game as debutant Blake Waters showed potential winning the majority of the ruck contests.

It was a tight contest throughout the first half as both teams went goal for goal.

Steph Tabaillou was having a great match in the forward pocket for the Hornets, presenting his midfielders with a number of leads which paid off with a 4 goal haul.

For the Magpies, veteran Daniel McGregor was up to his old tricks taking strong contested marks in the forward line kicking 3 goals for the game.

Eugene Hanna had a strong day with some hard running out of the middle. Defenders Josh Copeland and Carlos and Nico Donnell-Brown were also strong out of the backline all game, providing good running football.

There was clever footwork throughout the match by young gun Dan McCarthy who was working the ball forward and in defence, Brad Martin, James Mackinder and Tim Elsley were holding the Magpies at bay.

With the game level at 3 quarter time, the Magpies lost Shane Leat to injury and Howick took back the lead early in the fourth quarter. Standing in for Leat, Declan Crann stepped up in the middle of the ground and delivered a great ball into the forward line which resulted in a goal with 5 minutes left on the clock. 

The Hornets managed to keep their composure and fought back to take the game by 9 points.

“A great team effort the boys displayed great fight and tenacity especially in the fourth quarter to close out the game. A special mention goes to Armani Wright on debut bagging two goals.”  James Dixon

“Even though today we didn’t come out with the win, we have set a really good platform for ourselves for the rest of the season.” Waitakere Captain, Shane Leat.


North Shore Tigers vs Mt Roskill Saints

1st September, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.

The North Shore Tigers were looking to make their mark on the 2019 season with a strong start and they got it with a gritty win over last years grand finalists, Mt Roskill.

The Tigers were looking to forget an injury riddled and disappointing 2018 campaign, started with a great mix of old and new players to the club.

The first quarter was a tight affair with both teams still getting used to certain combinations and styles of play – regardless, the standard was pretty high for the opening round and at the first break, the Tigers went in with a 6 point lead.

With little to no wind impacting the game under perfect skies, both sides were constantly under pressure to win the contested ball and use it effectively. The teams traded goals throughout the second quarter until a lapse in concentration and discipline from the Tigers saw the Saints kick 2 in a row taking them to the main break 13 points up.

The Tigers came out with purpose and a specific game plan for the 3rd quarter and asserted their dominance around the contested ball.

The impact of new recruits Bryn Barnes-Webb, Jake Foster & Brad Connor was evident. Combined with the experience of seasoned campaigners such as Andriu Sucu, Mitch Ryan, Jake Tucker & Dan Pearce, the club is in a promising position for the 2019 campaign.

A big turn around and the Tigers were back in front after kicking 4 goals to 1.

The pressure continued in the 4th quarter with a couple of quick goals early, continuous pressure in the forward 50 and a solid defensive effort putting the game beyond doubt with a 15 point victory to start the season.

“It was great to see the team react to scoreboard pressure when we needed to. We showed great character which is a huge part of our team culture driven by our leadership group.” Tigers head coach, Sean Mayes.



Story –