Saints hungry for Auckland AFL trophy
The Mt Roskill Saints will be out to restore lost pride when the Auckland Aussie Football League (AFL) premiership semifinals start next month.
The Ryf Quail-coached side have won the premiership three times, the last time in 2012.
Last year, they managed to make the final four teams, but were ousted by defending premiers University Blues.
Quail says they have some players from 2012 still with the team and they are desperate to win again this time.
‘‘This group really have the desire to win it together,’’ he says.
‘‘We have a very even team across the park who are committed to the cause.’’
The Saints have a good chance of success.
This year, they defeated defending premiers University, and finalists North Shore in the earlier rounds of the competition.
While they lost to University last weekend 78-37 in the return home game, Quail is happy that at least they can hold on their own against the defending champs.
‘‘We were very pleased to beat University at their home ground (in round five).
‘‘It gave our guys a lot of belief that we could match it with the reigning premiers.’’
The biggest threat in the semifinals is the Waitakere Magpies.
They are the only undefeated team and head into the playoffs as favorites to win the coveted silverware.
‘‘Any team can win [the premiership]. We just need to stick to our plan,’’ an optimistic Quail says.
Waitakere ended the roundrobin competition at the top of the table with 38 points, followed by the Saints and University tied at second place with 26 points.
The last team in the semifinals is North Shore Tigers who finished with 22 points.
‘‘Our plan is to continue to build on our game structures so that we can deliver with confidence come finals time.
‘‘Our strengths this year has been the discipline to learn and stick to game plans. We are playing much better as a team rather than a group of individuals.
‘‘We have some very good players but the way the group plays together is our strength.’’
Meanwhile, the Auckland AFL awards take place on Friday at Mt Eden.
Mt Roskill Saints bowed out of the semifinals in last year’s competition.