Saints hun­gry for Auck­land AFL tro­phy

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

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.

PHOTO: PHOTOTEK

Mt Roskill Saints bowed out of the semi­fi­nals in last year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

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