Up and coming Canterbury youngster claims round 6 Rising Star

The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award will be awarded weekly to a standout young player in the 2021 AFL New Zealand Premiership.

Each week the award will be allocated to those who show ability that favours the core components it takes to become an AFL Player. To be eligible to be nominated for the award, a player must be born in 2002 or younger.

The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award for round 6 of the 2021 AFL New Zealand Premiership has been awarded to Henry Russell from the Western Crows.

Henry is playing in his first season of the Premiership and is making a name for himself.

From Canterbury, Henry plays for the Christchurch Bulldogs and was drafted to the Crows in 2020. He has put together two superb games during round 5 and 6 and thoroughly deserves the award.

“Henry is an absolute pleasure to coach, as are all of the Crows players. He is super eager to learn, has the art of “active listening” down pat, and is getting more and more confident each game. His general around the ground efforts, offensive positional play and defensive understanding is so much more than it was in Rd 1. He will be a weapon in AFLNZ circles for years to come at this rate. A very deserving winner of an AFLNZ Premiership weekly Rising Star award.” Matt Cawley, Western Crows Head Coach.

AFL New Zealand spoke to Henry and asked him a couple of questions during the week.

What School do you attend?

I’m at the University of Canterbury, studying communications

What sport did you play growing up?

I played Rugby, Basketball, Tennis and like to surf and ski

How did you get into AFL?

A mate got me to play in Canterbury league for the Bulldogs. I loved it from the get go and kept coming back each week

What do you enjoy about playing AFL?

I love the physicality and the speed of the game, you can really put your body to the test and being new to the sport, I’m learning something new every week which I like

What are your goals for AFL in the future?

Would like to continue playing in the Premiership and if the opportunity arises then would love a shot at the New Zealand team

What do you think your biggest advantage is out on the field?

Wouldn’t say I have a physical advantage but I’d like to think I have a positive mindset on the field which helps me keep going when the game is getting tough