A highly competitive Female Junior Secondary School AFL North Island Champs has taken place in Auckland, with four schools playing for the title.
The winning school, Waitakere College, showed impressive speed, poise and skill in their three matches. Aorere College placed 2nd, with Rutherford College and hosts Green Bay High School also competing. Despite the slippery and wet conditions, the handling skills shown by all teams were strong.
The first round saw Green Bay High School take on Waitakere College. After an initially close first half, with only 5 points separating the teams, Waitakere piled on the defensive pressure in the 2nd half, and kept the ball in their attacking zone, to run run away with a 2.6:18 – 0.3:3 victory.
The other match also featured a close first half, with Rutherford pulling within one point of Aorere College at the break. However, the powerful Aorere players out muscled Rutherford in the 2nd half, kicking 23 points to win 5.7:37 – 2.1:13.
Next up Waitakere took on Rutherford, and again recorded a win built on 2nd half dominance. Rutherford led the low scoring first half 0.2 – 0.1, however Waitakere capitalised on the wind to take a 2.5:17 – 0.2:2 win.
Aorere secured their 2nd win of the tournament against Green Bay in a high scoring contest, making the most of the open style of play to record a 6.5:41 – 3.1:19 victory. The match set up a final between Waitakere and Aorere in the last round of the tournament.
Waitakere stepped up for their biggest performance of the tournament, showing their heart and fitness in dispatching a tiring Aorere College. The first half saw Waitakere pile on a big lead, and while the 2nd half was very even, it proved to be too much. Waitakere won 3.5:23 to 1.2:8 to take the trophy.
The other match of the round was a low scoring battle. Rutherford held the lead at half time thanks to a solitary goal, but their score was overhauled in the 2nd half by Green Bay, who dominated territory, and took the game 1.3:9 – 1.0:6.
For some of the players involved, the Female Junior Secondary School AFL North Island Champs will be a step along the journey towards playing AFL for the U18 New Zealand Kahus, currently New Zealand’s premier female AFL team. One of the players, Rosie Schuster from Aorere College, represented for the New Zealand Kahus in their recent series against the Australian Youth Girls.
Many players were presented with invitations to become part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, a training and development programme that can lead to National Representation. The next series for the U18 New Zealand Kahus is in December, against the U18 Woomeras, Australia’s premier female Indigenous AFL team.
One player from each team was awarded Best on Ground for the tournament. From Waitakere College, Tulesia Faasavalu earned the award. Aorere College’s Best on Ground was Gwennie Atulia. Rutherford’s best was Betsy Bella Davis Barr. Milly Bossley-Hoyte earned the award for Green Bay High School.
The overall tournament Best and Fairest award went to Waitakere College’s Alexandria Ahchee-Wilson.
Without the support of teachers and volunteers, the players would not have had the chance to excel through AFL. Teachers in charge of teams were crucial to the organisation of this tournament, with John Lipscombe from Green Bay, Waitakere Magpies AFL player Jeff Silby from Rutherford and Drew Dunn from Aorere College managing their teams.
Joey Te Whata from Waitakere College took on responsibility for both the male and female AFL teams from his school, and has previously managed the Under 18 New Zealand Hawks team.
Rutherford College were also supported by the presence of Olivia Atkins, a senior student at the school who represented the U18 New Zealand Kahus in October.
Female Junior Secondary School AFL North Island Champs Results
Waitakere College 2.6:18 beat Green Bay High School 0.3:3
Aorere College5.7:37 beat Rutherford College 2.1:13
Waitakere College 2.5:17 beat Rutherford College 0.2:2
Aorere College 6.5:41 beat Green Bay High School 3.1:19
Green Bay High School 1.3:9 beat Rutherford College 1.0:6
Waitakere College 3.5:23 beat Aorere College 1.2:8
Best on Ground winners:
Waitakere College: Tulesia Faasavalu
Green Bay High School: Milly Bossley-Hoyte
Aorere College: Gwennie Atulia
Rutherford College: Betsy Bella Davis Barr
Tournament MVP: Alexandria Ahchee-Wilson (Waitakere College)