Wellington College have beaten a strong field of teams to take out the 2014 Wellington Junior Hawks Cup Cluster Tournament.
The sporting powerhouse school overcame challenges from Hutt Valley High School, Onslow College, Porirua College and two teams from Tawa College and St Patrick’s College Wellington each.
With 8 teams competing, the competition was split into two pools, with each team playing 3 round robin matches, followed by semi-finals and finals.
Pool A was dominated by Hutt Valley High School, who were far too strong for their opposition across all of their pool matches. Placing 2nd, St Patricks’ 1 beat Porirua and Tawa College 2, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Pool B featured an unbeaten Wellington College, who were run very close by St Patrick’s College 2. The remaining 3 teams in the pool all took one game each, meaning points differential was required to decide placings. St Patrick’s 2 had a differential of 98.5%, which meant they advanced to the major semi finals.
The other two teams, Onslow and Tawa 1, were almost too close to separate. Onslow just edged Tawa 1, by a matter of 70.8% to 70.4%. Their match was one of the best of the day, with a late goal to Onslow helping them sneak home with a 30-27 win.
AFL New Zealand’s Wellington Development Manager Sam McKenzie was impressed by the play seen across the tournament.
“Overall the standard of play was really high, the best I have seen at a Hawks Cup that I have been involved with, and that was across all teams. The quickness, awareness and skill of all players was really impressive.”
The finals were set up to provide more games for all teams, with major and minor semi finals. In the minor semi finals, Onslow College narrowly edged a low scoring contest against Tawa 2, and Tawa 1 came out on top from a high scoring match against Porirua College.
This led to playoffs for 7th and 5th, and both games featured turnaround results from pool play. Tawa 1 avenged their narrow round robin loss to Onslow, thrashing their regional rivals 44-1 to take 5th.
In the 7th place playoff, Tawa 2 edged a close game against Porirua College, with only 4 points separating the teams.
The major semi finals featured both table topping teams advancing to the Grand Final, beating both the St Patrick’s teams in the process. The two St Patrick’s teams played off for 3rd, with St Patrick’s 2 winning the intra-school contest by a narrow 5 point margin.
Wellington College struggled initially in the Grand Final against Hutt Valley High School, though neither side was able to dominate the first half. HVHS took a half time lead, kicking 1.1 to 0.2 The 2nd half opened up into a more free flowing game, and Wellington College proved to be more accurate in front of goal. Their 3 goals were the difference, with the match finishing 3.3:21 – 1.4:10.
A huge asset throughout the tournament for Wellington College was Under 16 New Zealand Hawks rep Naitoa Ah Kuoi, who played in the ruck and provided his team with first use of the ball. He was also instrumental in moving the ball forward, and was awarded the tournament MVP award for his efforts.
The support of teachers and volunteers was a crucial element in the success of the Wellington Junior Hawks Cup. Not only were teachers involved throughout the competition, volunteers from the Wellington AFL gave up their time to assist in a variety of ways.
Local High Performance coach Shannon Wall took the Onslow team, and assisted with Wellington College in the build up to the tournament. WAFL President and Eastern Bulldogs stalwart James Terry coached Hutt Valley High School and umpired matches. Peter Geale from the North City Demons assisted three schools with trainings, and Barrie MacDonald umpired games. Margaret Lavery was on hand as the photographer.
Many of the players involved in the Hawks Cup have been rewarded with invitations to be part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance Programme. Members of this programme take part in development, training and matches, before having the opportunity to represent New Zealand.
Two local High Performance players gave back to the game through helping with the tournament. Alex Awatere umpired matches, and Under 16 New Zealand Hawks player James Watkins coached the Wellington College team.
With the Junior Hawks Cup completed, many of the players will be returning for the Senior Hawks Cup, which will be held in Term 1 of next year. As many of the players in the recent Junior Hawks Cup were Year 10, they will be eligible for the Senior Hawks Cup, for years 11-13.
Wellington Junior Hawks Cup 2014 Results
|SPC 1||HVHS||PC||T 2||Points||Points for||Points against|
|SPC 1 (2nd)||X||21-43||38-21||50-8||8||109||72|
|T 2 (4th)||8-50||0-60||9-19||X||0||17||129|
|WC||T 1||OC||SPC 2||Points||Points for||Points against|
|T 1 (4th)||21-55||X||27-30||21-13||4||69||98|
|SPC 2 (2nd)||15-23||13-21||38-23||X||4||66||67|
Porirua College lost to Tawa College 1 44 – 33
Tawa College 2 lost to Onslow College 15 – 9
Hutt Valley High School beat St Patrick’s College 2 67 – 1
St Patrick’s College 1 lost to Wellington College 32 – 14
7th/8th Tawa College 2 beat Porirua College 19 – 15
5th/6th Tawa College 1 beat Onslow College 46 – 1
3rd/4th St Patrick’s College 2 beat St Patrick’s College 1 20 -15
1st/2nd Wellington College beat Hutt Valley High School 21 – 10
1st Wellington College
2nd Hutt Valley High School
3rd St Patrick’s College, Wellington 2
4th St Patrick’s College, Wellington 1
5th Tawa College 1
6th Onslow College
7th Tawa College 2
8th Porirua College
Best and Fairest Award Winners:
Tawa 1: Jonsey Elekana-Tuuga
Tawa 2: Harley Keene
St Patrick’s College, Wellington 1: Eden Cruize
St Patrick’s College, Wellington 2: Isaac Short
Wellington College: Joshua Morgan
Porirua College: Eli Moataa
Hutt Valley High School: Mitchell Stringer
Onslow College: Aiden Roberts
Tournament MVP: Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellington College)
All photos taken by Margaret Lavery