The two best AFL teams in Auckland are set to go head to head, with the North Shore Tigers and the University Blues both qualifying for the Auckland AFL Grand Final.
The match will be held on the 29th November at 2.00pm, at QBE Harbour Stadium on the North Shore and will be the first time the new AFL ground will host the final. Auckland Stadiums in partnership with AFL New Zealand are looking to underpin community football within the Auckland region. The Auckland AFL Grand final this weekend is a starting point leading into the inaugural 2016 AFL New Zealand Premiership commencing February 14th next year.
The current Premiers, University made the final by beating the Mt Roskill Saints by 63 points in last week’s Semi. The boys in Blue will be hoping to win another Premiership and go back to back after winning the title last year by beating the Waitakere Magpies.
With only having lost 1 game all season, the Blues are full of experienced players and coached by Northern Suns (AFLNZ Premiership) Head coach Chris ‘Junior’ Mundell who has set up fantastic structures for the club. “We have continued our development of our younger players in 2015 and the results have been very exciting to date. Heading through the competition with only one blemish is no mean feat and great reward for the development of our newer players who continue to hold up their end of the side. University is again looking forward to another cracking Grand Final and expect the resurgent Tigers to come as hard as ever. Those of us who can remember the 2008 grand final remember that you must never underestimate the Tigers and we will be expecting as tough a battle as we have had this year. Whatever the outcome, University has had a strong season and look forward to continuing to grow and develop over the off season and look forward to building again towards 2016”
A young North Shore Tigers side will take part in the clubs first Grand Final since 2008 and will be hoping to cause an upset over the experienced University side.
The Tigers, who are coached by newly appointed Southern Saints (AFLNZ Premiership) assistant coach Andriu Sucu clawed their way to the Grand Final by defeating last year’s runner up the Waitakere Magpies on their home ground by 9 points. “As a team, we are extremely pumped leading into the grand final this Sunday, as I am the only tiger to have played in our last final outing, messages from 2008 members have helped to heighten excitement levels and the boys are eager to reverse the two losses we were dealt at the hands of Uni throughout round robin play. The boys have worked hard throughout the season with this weekend the main focus, now we have earned the shot at the flag.” Head Coach Andriu Sucu is excited for his young side and urges them to go out and enjoy playing football.[interaction id=”56539c9c41f2d0122ba72db8″]
Prior to the final, The AFL New Zealand Youth Competition will take place on the same ground. The competition features 3 grades (U13, U17 Boys and U17 Girls) and has provided a pathway for those young players to gain the skills and development to progress into local and High Performance AFL football. This has already been seen with young North Shore Tigers players Jake Tucker and Joseph Alesich-Tamariki who play an important role for their club. These young talented players have also represented the NZ Hawks at U16 level and will be a part of the High Performance set up for years to come.
AFL in Auckland has benefitted heavily from players being involved in the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme. Young players have come through New Zealand age-representative teams and many senior players have been hardened through their involvement with the New Zealand Hawks.
Players to watch:
North Harbour Stadium:[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3197.8690546317243!2d174.7016600147584!3d-36.72570598033768!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x6d0d3b93bdbc2f85%3A0xf79fb59c82414ef!2sStadium+Dr%2C+Albany%2C+Auckland+0632!5e0!3m2!1sen!2snz!4v1448319888612&w=600&h=450]