2012 AFLNZ Community Awards

The inaugural AFLNZ Community Awards were held on the 29th of September, AFL Grand Final Day. It was a casual and fun occasion attended by AFLNZ associates, staff and members of the wider AFLNZ community.

The awards are about recognising partners and associates and the collaborative efforts assisting with the development of AFL in New Zealand. The pathways and partnerships AFL New Zealand develop, all focus on our vision that “AFL is a New Zealand game.” The awards and presentations provided a cross section of the people and organisations AFLNZ deal with on a daily basis. On some occasions the recipients represented a large group of people who deserve recognition for their efforts.

AFL KiwiKick

To ensure we provide quality programmes AFL New Zealand is reliant on four full time employees, two Area Co-ordinators as well as a large casual staff roster.

Of the 80 staff currently working for AFL New Zealand there is a wide diversity of sporting back grounds and skill sets and only a few with any previous connection with AFL.

AFL New Zealand staff members have represented New Zealand in a variety of sports over the past year:

Michael Gregson, Shane Leat, Rhys Panui-Leth AFL. Gabrielle Crothall Water Polo, Jared Nixon, Brennan Wild, Keely Johnson Hockey, Erin Nayler Football

Regional success can also be attributed to Ros McNeill Cricket and Dylan Nixon Hockey

The 2012 AFLNZ Community Award recognising their success is presented to Erin Nayler, AFL New Zealand employee and Goal keeper for the Football White Ferns.

Erin Nayler, AFL New Zealand employee and Goalkeeper for the Football White Ferns.

Our casual workforce includes a high percentage of students that are destined for great careers. To be innovative, we look to empower our employees to utilise the unique skill sets they bring to our organisation.

Recognising these skill sets the award goes to Megan Grayson for her work in developing the AFL KiwiKick Skills Video through her tertiary studies.

Megan Grayson

Play AFL Community Centres

The emergence of the “Play AFL Community Centres” relies on the cooperation and support and we are happy to be associated with several iconic sporting sites.

We recognise the support received from these venues and the award went to the Papatoetoe Sports Centre represented by CEO Justin Leydessdorf.



We have many successful partnerships with Regional Sports Trusts. Simon Bucknell in his position as Green Bay Cluster Coordinator received the award on behalf of Sport Waitakere. Within Simon’s Cluster, over 3000 students completed the AFL KiwiKick Programme.


Simon Bucknell, Green Bay cluster coordinator


We also recognise the support received from Harbour Sport Regional Sports Trust that has resulted in the AFL KiwiKick Programme delivered to more than 10,000 children between the ages of 5 and 12 over the past two years. Business Development Manager Richard Cassutt accepted the award on the Trust’s behalf.


Richard Cassutt, Business Development Manager at Harbour Sport Regional Sports Trust


New Zealand Hawks High Performance

AFL New Zealand is fortunate to have a strong volunteer base associated with our High Performance Programme. We recognised two members of the same household for their tireless efforts and more importantly their skills that have played a part in the growth of our organisation.

Jenny Lucy has now been associated with New Zealand teams for over a decade with a focus on physiotherapy, medical, team preparation and rehabilitation.

Husband Jim Lucy is the current President of the Waikato AFL and has held the roles of Assistant Coach, Manager and was the successful Coach of the 2005 International Cup winners. 2011 Jim coached the Tongan team at the 2011 International Cup.

Jenny & Jim Lucy


Our High Performance Programmes are reliant upon a “User Pays” model. With so many players either completing studies or entering the workforce, family support is vital to their success. Saula and Vivienne Sucu accepted an award for their contribution to their sons, Brandon and Andriu, ongoing involvement in AFLNZ’s HP programme and on behalf of all parents who assist the success of the programme and are supportive of their children.

Saula and Vivienne Sucu


Secondary Schools Programmes


AFLNZ recognises the support and collaboration we receive from so many Secondary Schools as they strive to provide their students with new concepts and new ideas. The award went to Western Springs College, represented by Peter Bircham and Christina Paolini.


Peter Bircham and Christina Paolini


Gateway Programme


AFL New Zealand can provide Gateway students with the perfect opportunity to gain experience within the Sports coaching industry delivering the AFL KiwiKick programme to Primary and Intermediate school students.

AFLNZ recognised one of these students, from Mahurangi College, RhysPanui-Leth.


Rhys Panui-Leth



ANZAC Day 2013


To conclude the night NZ Naval Commander John Crighton took the stage and giving a history lesson on ANZAC Day and its origins, and to give his support and that of the NZ Armed Forces to the ANZAC Day game next year.


John Crighton, NZ Naval Commander


With the awards over and everyone full on lunch and dessert it was time to sit back and take in the AFL Grand Final and watch the Sydney Swans defeat the Hawthorn Hawks, though the crowd support was with Hawthorn there was some delight that New Zealand would be seeing the reigning champs in Wellington next year.