Senior Hawks Cup set to begin

The Senior Hawks Cup is set to get underway this week, with a strong set of schools ready to compete for AFL glory.

Regional Cluster Tournaments will be held around the North Island between the 18th and the 25th of February, beginning with the Northland Regional Cluster Tournament and concluding with the Wellington Regional Cluster Tournament.

Tournaments will be held for both girls and boys. Opportunities exist for all to become part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme, with further opportunities to represent New Zealand on offer.

Following on from these events, the AFL Senior Secondary North Island Championships will be held, on the 1st of March, at the Trusts Arena in Waitakere.

Various schools with strong traditions of sporting excellence will be entering the Senior Hawks Cup in 2014. For many participants, AFL is not their primary sport, however it fits well alongside their other codes. Peter Bircham of Western Springs College agrees:

“The Hawks Cup opens up avenues for our girls and boys to further their skills for their other sports.” Western Springs College is fortunate to have a few female New Zealand representatives at their school.

Aorere College will have a particularly strong boys team this year, with a lineup that includes Hawthorn Hawks International Scholarship player Siope Ngata. Ngata will be joined by some fellow AFL New Zealand High Performance players, and Aorere will be looking to win both their Regional Cluster Tournament and the AFL Senior Secondary School North Island Championships.

They will be sternly tested at the North Island Championships by Bay of Islands College, who will feature players that impressed onlookers at the AFL New Zealand National Combine. Ben Armstrong and Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas will be looking to use their strong skills to take the trophy north.

Another school with a good chance of success is One Tree Hill College. Having won the AFL Junior Secondary School Championships in term 4 of last year, much of their squad has now graduated to the Senior level.

However, their local AFL rivals St Paul’s College will also be tough to put away. St Paul’s College Sports Coordinator Joe Cunningham is upbeat about his school’s chances.

“The boys are pretty League focused but once they get into AFL they love it, they learn about executing highly skilled acts and creating space. It’s a change of mindset and once they adapt they get really good. We’re pretty confident of a good showing this year.”

AFL New Zealand High Performance players typically take on leadership roles within their schools for Hawks Cup competitions. As Peter Bircham put it, “Rawiri Milne, a High Performance player, and our female New Zealand players have been great. Their skill levels are very high and they have been very keen to promote the game to other students.”

AFL New Zealand is sanctioned by the New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council.


Senior Hawks Cup Cluster Tournaments: Dates and Venues

Northland Regional Cluster: February 18th, 10.00am, Kensington Sports Fields, Whangarei

Central Auckland Cluster: February 18th, 4.00pm, St Paul’s College

Counties Cluster: February 19th, 4.00pm, Papatoetoe Sports Complex

Greater Auckland Female Cluster: February 25th, 4.00pm, Green Bay High School

Wellington Cluster: February 25th, 4.00pm, Hutt Park


AFL Senior Secondary School North Island Championships: March 1st, Trusts Arena, Waitakere