Talented athletes from throughout New Zealand will be provided with the opportunity to test their skills and push for places in the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, through the AFL New Zealand Regional Combine programme.
The AFL New Zealand Combine programme is one of the first steps in the AFL New Zealand High Performance pathway. From the Combine testing, the best athletes are invited to trial for selection into New Zealand age grade representative teams.
Talent scouts from the St Kilda Football Club will be in attendance, looking at athletes with a view to signing them to an AFL International Scholarship.
A precedent for this exists, with New Zealanders currently on AFL International Scholarships at two different clubs. Former International Scholarship holder Kurt Heatherley has recently been elevated to the senior players list at the Hawthorn Football Club and Shem Tatupu is a regular for Hawthorn’s reserve grade side, the Box Hill Hawks. Porirua local and St Kilda Football Club International Scholarship holder Jo Baker-Tomas has made the move over to Melbourne to continue to develop his knowledge of the game. Along with Baker-Thomas, Barclay Miller from Christchurch and Giovanni Mountain-Silbery from Mangere, in Auckland also hold an International Scholarship with the Saints.
Combine participants are tested in a range of athletic skills, with each test measuring a different aspect of their performance. Some tests are for AFL specific skills, including the drop punt and handball. Other tests, including vertical leap, 20 metre sprint, an agility test and the beep test can be applied to a wide variety of sports.
Each year the AFL New Zealand National Combine is held at a major events centre following on from the Regional Combines. Those who score highly in the Regional Combines are invited to test themselves against the best athletes from around the country where they will be watched by scouts from a variety of AFL clubs, eager to capitalise on the ever growing New Zealand talent pool.
Friday 30th October
Saturday 31st October