The 2015 AFL New Zealand National Combine has been held successfully, showing talented athletes the many opportunities that are available through AFL.
Talent scouts from a majority of AFL clubs were in attendance at the ASB Indoor Centre in Wellington, viewing young athletes to potentially sign to AFL International Scholarships.
With three New Zealanders currently on International Scholarships with AFL clubs, and a further two having graduated from the programme to being elevated to their club’s rookie list, a real opportunity exists for New Zealanders who wish to make a career out of AFL.
National Combine participants were invited to attend based on their potential at the AFL Academy held around the country from February to April of this year. The top 40 athletes who have been involved with the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme were invited to attend.
The AFL New Zealand Combine programme primarily tests athletic skills. Participants are tested in the 20-metre sprint, vertical leap and 20-metre agility test, before running through drills that test AFL specific skills. The day concludes with all participants competing in the Beep Test.
Standouts from this year’s combine were Wellington locals Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Francis Pederson who were consistent in all tests. 193cm Willem Van Der Wilt also stood out in front of the AFL recruiters.
The Regional and National Combines are an important element of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, which also includes training, match and development elements. Opportunities exist for the best athletes to represent New Zealand at AFL, an honour that a small number of Combine participants have achieved at age group level.
Vertical Leap: 70cm (Masiu Vainikolo)
20m Sprint: 2.90 seconds (Utu Ah Kuoi)
Agility Test: 7.7 seconds (Ben Armstrong)
Beep Test: 14.5 (Nathan Lenihan)