Bright and early this morning (3am!), 70 participants and MPJFL staff departed BlueScope Reserve to embark on the 2023 MPJFL New Zealand Tour!
The tour is an annual MPJFL event, that has returned this year after covid interrupted the program in 2020. Participants from across the league are granted equal opportunity to take part, with the clubs and families providing nominations to formulate the three teams that will represent the MPJFL over the coming days.
The three touring squads (Under 14 Boys, Under 15/16 Boys and Under 14/17 Girls) began training in early November, and will get their chance to put their hard work to the test against strong and determined AFL New Zealand High Performance Academy teams this weekend. The squad lists are:
Under 14 Boys:
|1||Jack Travers||Red Hill|
|4||Will Griffiths||South Mornington|
|8||Xavier Bushell||South Mornington|
|9||William Gross||Mount Martha|
|14||Angus Karl Abschinski||Mt Martha|
|17||Gus Lyons||South Mornington|
|18||Riley Tonkin||South Mornington|
|25||Isaac Flynn||South Mornington|
|27||Rohan Larkins||South Mornington|
|29||Lewcas Boyd Gillett||Rosebud|
|Stacey Bushell||Team Manager|
Under 14/17 Girls
|5||Maia Berryman||Mt Martha|
|7||Jemaya Bressan||Mt Martha|
|8||Isabella Robinson||Mt Martha|
|9||Isla Parris||Crib Point|
|10||Makhaela Bluhm||Mt Martha|
|11||Indiana Dale||Mt Martha|
|15||Ruby Watts||Mt Martha|
|17||Summer Arundale||Mt Martha|
|20||Ava Garas||Mt Martha|
|23||Willow Hofer||Mt Martha|
|28||Georgia Bracun||Mt Martha|
|30||Ava Dawn Gillett||Rosebud|
|Jake Dale||Team Manager|
Under 15/16 Boys
|3||Kobe Richards||Mt Martha|
|5||Nate Hogarth||South Morninton|
|7||Sebastian Davies||South Morninton|
|8||Joshua Bell||South Morninton|
|12||Ethan Maxwell||Crib Point|
|13||Ocean Shepheard||Mt Martha|
|15||Hudson Price||Mt Martha|
|20||James Hilli||South Morninton|
|23||Noah Wisken||Crib Point|
|Rebecca Constantinou||Team Manager|
Marcus Prasad, from the Dromana Junior Football Club, will be taking the field for the AFL New Zealand Under 15/16 team, as he has New Zealand heritage within his family. This is a fantastic opportunity presented to Marcus, and one that has been offered in the past, with former MPJFL players such as Max Urwin representing New Zealand at the international level.
The tour features two matches for each for the three squads, over the weekend and into Monday. Please find the match information below:
Match 1 – Saturday 15th April – North Harbour Stadium
Under 14 Boys – 10.00AM
Under 14/17 Girls – 11.45AM
Under 15/16 Boys – 1.30PM
Match 2 – Monday 17th April – North Harbour Stadium
Under 14/17 Girls – 10.00AM
Under 14 Boys – 1.00PM
Under 15/16 Boys – 2.45PM
We are excited to announce that thanks to the support of League Partner Innovative Controls, the matches will be live streamed for all to enjoy back home. You will be able to stream the games live via the following link – https://vimeo.com/event/3307049 – when the matches get underway!
The MPJFL’s relationship with AFLNZ began in 2015 and has since become a partnership, one that provides participants from both countries an opportunity that is unique, and exclusive to the two organisations. The AFLNZ High Performance Academy teams are made up of participants from across the country, who converge in Auckland to form the team that will take on the MPJFL Steelers. Australian Rules is a growing sport in New Zealand, and this tour has become as important for them, as it is to us!
Outside of Football, the participants will be treated as special guests to the AFL New Zealand High Performance Awards Ceremony, which will be held at AUT University, Auckland. Here, the participants and the accompanying families will be welcomed, and will get to experience first hand how much the New Zealanders love their footy. The touring squads will also experience a number of cultural activities, including visiting the Mt Eden Volcano and Mission Bay on their rest day.
It goes without saying that these opportunities are not created without the hard work of staff and volunteers. As such, we would like to thank Andrew Souter for his tireless work getting the tour up and running, as well as the coaches, team managers and trainers who have donated their time throughout the process which began late last year.
We wish the players the best of luck over the weekend, as they represent their clubs, the league, region, and country against AFLNZ, and hopefully make memories that will last a lifetime!