Alex’s Aussie AFL les­son

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

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.

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