Under 18 National Championships Review

Amid the spectacular events surrounding ANZAC Week in Wellington, the top young AFL players in New Zealand were playing in their own tournament.

The Under 18 National Championships were held at Hutt Park over the 24th and 25th of April, and featured impressive young players from around the country.

Sorted into three teams, each player was involved in four games of AFL over the course of the tournament. The intensive schedule allowed players to fully immerse themselves in the sport, learning quickly in the process.

The three teams were the Suns, coached by Mick Coultard and managed by Ken Ah Kuoi, the Giants, coached by Warwick Kain and managed by Simon Barnsley, and the Eagles, coached by Ben Drew and Steve Fury, with Grant Caldwell managing the team.

It was the Suns who triumphed over their competition, winning all four matches to take the title. The Giants placed 2nd.

Match Results:

Game 1: Suns vs Eagles




Suns: Silbery 2, Stuart 2, Scarf-Matthews, Cullen, U Ah Kuoi, Meleisea, McGeough

Eagles: Alaelua 2, Milne

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Suns: Cullen, Lucas, Awatere, N Ah Kuoi, Samuels, Meleisea.

Eagles: Pedersen, Vainikolo, Matheson, Blackie, Milne, Alaelua


Game 2: Giants vs Eagles




Giants: Lenihan 4, Moafanua 3, Irving 2

Eagles: Misiloi, Te Whata

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Giants: Lenihan, Barnsley, Copeland

Eagles: Misiloi, Alaelua, Milne, Vainikolo


Game 3: Suns vs Giants




Suns: Awatere 2, McGeough, Samuels, Silbery, N Ah Kuoi,

Giants: Ware 2, Lenihan, Moafanua

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Suns: Awatere, Samuels, U Ah Kuoi, Munro

Giants: Pene, van der Wilt, Harriman


Game 4: Suns vs Eagles




Suns: Scarf-Matthews 2, U Ah Kuoi, McGeogh, Munro, Hawkins, Stuart, Awatere

Eagles: Misiloi 3, Alealua 2, Milne

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Suns: U Ah Kuoi, Ware, McGeough, Munro, Kainana

Eagles: Alealua, Lewis, Gallagher, Momoisea, Sheck-Andrews, Misiloi


Game 5: Giants vs Eagles




Giants: Cooper 2, Pene, Moafanua

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Giants: Lenihan, van der Wilt, Copeland, Johnston, Moafanua

Eagles: Caldwell, Matheson, Milne, Blackie, Vainikolo


Game 6: Suns vs Giants




Suns: U Ah Kuoi 2, Awatere, Samuels, Cullen, N Ah Kuoi, Scarf-Matthews, Silbery

Best and Fairest Nominations:

Suns: N Ah Kuoi, Samuels, Awatere, Cullen

Giants: Pene, Copeland, Harriman


Tournament Best and Fairest Awards:

Suns Best and Fairest: Bradley Munro

Eagles Best and Fairest: Masiu Vainikolo

Giants Best and Fairest: Josh Copeland

Tournament Best and Fairest: Gray Samuels


The Under 18 National Championships was one of the many AFL events that took place over the course of ANZAC week, and the players participating were given the opportunity to experience many of those events first hand.

Players were provided tickets to watch the ANZAC Day clash between the St Kilda Saints and Brisbane Lions, and also ran onto the field at Westpac Stadium to unpire games of AFL KiwiKick and AFL 9s at half time.

They also got the opportunity to be part of the AFL New Zealand Have a Go Day at the Basin Reserve, meeting players from the St Kilda Saints, New Zealand Hawks and South Pacific teams.

With the Under 18 National Championships completed, attention now turns to the upcoming series that the Under 18 New Zealand Hawks will compete in, against the Victorian Amateur Football Association in October.

In 2013 the Under 18 New Zealand Hawks lost the series 2-0, though for long periods of both matches were the equal of the visiting Victorians. The New Zealand side selected this year is expected to prove equally challenging for the visitors.