The University Blues are back to back Premiers in the Auckland AFL league after defeating the North Shore Tigers in a pulsating Grand Final by 20 points.
In cracking conditions at QBE Harbour Stadium in Albany, the Blues and Tigers battled out a fantastic final in front of a strong crowd which saw both teams leave it all out on the field in hope to lift the Premiership shield come full time. University brought the experience with them having a similar squad to last years premiership team, whilst North Shore, who were playing in their first final since 2008 were a much younger side.
The first quarter was a fierce contest where both teams were trying to exert their dominance over one another. The Tigers kicked the first goal of the match through Tyler Rakich and controlled possession for the first 15 minutes of the game. A slight lapse in concentration from the Tigers let Uni back into the game by kicking 3 goals and taking a quarter time lead.
The ferocity continued in the second which saw some great goals and running play from both sides. North Shore Tigers and NZ Hawks ruckman Ty Smith pulled off the tackle of the half, running down St Kilda International Scholarship holder Giovanni Mountain-Silbery. The scoreboard saw many a lead change and the teams were only separated by a few points at half time.
University knew the third quarter was critical in the quest to win another premiership and the boys in blue stuck to their game plan which payed off as they took complete control of the game. A wonderful goal line mark from Nick Trask was easily slotted late in the quarters as University held a 30 point lead with only one quarter to go.
The Tigers showed great courage to never give up and rallied in the last quarter, but it was too little too late and despite Justin Clark and Andriu Sucu’s best efforts the deficit was too great to overcome.
Although the Auckland AFL season has come to an end, many of the players will now shift their focus to the AFLNZ National Draft (Wednesday 2nd December, 7.00pm-9.00pm) in hope they will selected in one of the four AFLNZ Premiership teams for the upcoming season commencing February 14 2016. The draft will be live via social media from 7.00pm onwards.
For a pick by pick update follow @AFLNZ on twitter to see it all unfold minute by minute.
For up to date stories, player profiles and team line ups, updated as selections come through go to aflnz.co.nz