Alex’s Aussie AFL lesson
Alex Awatere got an AFL lesson in Australia, but loved every minute.
The Pauatahanui 16-year-old went to Sydney with the New Zealand Hawks AFL side last month for games against a New South Wales All Stars team and the Sydney Swans academy side.
Porirua players Sam Green and Richard Faimalo were also in the Hawks squad.
The New Zealand side lost by 18 points to the New South Wales lineup and were thrashed by 160 by the Swans.
‘‘We got smoked, especially in that second game, but it was a great experience to go and play against these top teams,’’ Sam said.
‘‘We found the Australians were much faster than we were used to, more physical, and they kept the ball away from us really well.’’
He said he had a few nice individual moments, knocking the ball from an opponent near the sideline once, and generally acquitted himself well.
Awatere spent only five minutes off the field during the two games.
After a successful season with the Porirua- based North City Demons and selection for Wellington, Green’s goal is to now make the national under-18 squad this month.
The dream of playing AFL professionally was not completely off his radar, he said.
‘‘Playing at senior level for Wellington has been great for my game and I feel a lot fitter.
‘‘I’m hoping to eventually get to the national men’s side, maybe next year.’’
He said the fitness he had gained training and playing AFL was paying off as he prepared for rugby season and upcoming ki o rahi nationals with Aotea College.
The St Kilda Saints return to Wellington to play the Carlton Blues at Westpac Stadium on April 25. The match will kick off at 1.10pm and there is free entry for children. Gates will open at noon, after official Anzac Day commemorations. Activities for the children will be on the concourse. New Zealand Hawks defender Alex Awatere, who enjoyed his AFL experience in Australia.