2018 WAFL Grand Final Review

Saints Depose Bulldogs Dynasty

Wellington City Saints Captain Andrew Bissett raises the cup after their 2018 Grand Final win.

It may have been the third consecutive Grand Final match-up between the Bulldogs and the Saints but it was anything but routine. It was a warm, sunny day with a sizable northerly breeze blowing down the ground when the two teams marched onto Hutt Park for the last time in 2018. The Saints were able to take the lead in the first, playing with the wind, but by halftime the Bulldogs had brought the scores level at 17 a piece in what was proving to be a grinding, low-scoring affair.

After the halftime break, the Saints came out of the blocks firing, piling on an additional 20 points before the 4th quarter, with the Bulldogs scrounging up just a lone behind in response. The skills of the Saints shone through, with clean kicking and marking setting their side well above their competitors.

Early in the 4th there was a friendly fire collision, and the game had to be put on hold for the ambulance to come and ferry one of the Bulldogs off to the hospital. Fortunately he is recovering well, suffering ‘only’ a concussion, broken nose, and requiring a few stitches for bleeding on the inside of his lip. Once play resumed, the Bulldogs mounted a massive comeback, but the Saints defence was able to hold strong. Under immense pressure of the momentum shift, the Saints were able to fend off the loss, and when then final siren went, were 3 points ahead on the scoreboard, despite the fact they didn’t score in the final term.

Final score:
WC Saints: 5-7-37
ES Bulldogs: 4-10-34

After the Cup and medal presentations on the field, players and coaches from all the teams headed to the Stop Out Clubrooms for the end of season awards presentations. Congratulations to all awards recipients, and the All-Wellington Team:

League MVP: James Kusel (HV Eagles) – 26 votes, played 7 games

Leading Goal Scorer: James Terry (ES Bulldogs) – 29 goals over 8 games. Most goals in a game: 10 vs Demons, Round 6

Rising Star (under 18): Doug McJarrow (WC Saints) – 9 votes, played 8 games

Margaret Lavery Award (Volunteer of the Year): Donna Gill – Demons Manager

-All-Wellington Team-
Full Backs: Alex Awatere (Demons), Pat Lovelock (Eagles), Adam Moore (Saints)

Half Backs: Sam Sherring (Eagles), Andrew Gavaghan (Saints), Andrew Bissett (Saints)

Centres: Blake Neve (Bulldogs), Tom Robby (Bulldogs), Tayne Lockwood (Demons)

On Ball: Peter Halstead (Bulldogs), Jalan Farris (Eagles), Stanley Chung (Bulldogs)

Half Forwards: James Sharp (Bulldogs), James Kusel (Eagles), Will Kempt (Saints)

Full Forwards: Phil Wakefield (Bulldogs), Luke Vincent (Eagles), James Terry (Bulldogs)

Interchange: Ray Turner (Eagles), Luke Shervey (Bulldogs), Michael Martinez (Bulldogs), Coby Dodd (Saints), Doug McJorrow (Saints), Paul Willis (Bulldogs)

Congratulations to the Saints on an impressive victory, after a hard-fought campaign in a much more competitive WAFL season. Congratulations as well to the Bulldogs on yet another impressive season. This loss will be hard to take, but will surely strengthen their resolve in 2019.

Wellington Tigers Name Wider NPC Training Squad

Wellington Tigers Coaches John Jackson and Garth Sabo have named a strong 35-man training squad to face the Canterbury Cobras and Otago Riot at the 2018 NPC being held in Christchurch on 15th and 16th of December. The 2017 NPC champions the Auckland Buccaneers have decided to not enter a team. The squad was selected on form over the first six rounds of the 9 round WAFL competition and is littered with talent from recent AFLNZ Academy graduates Jonah Christians and Doug McJorrow, New Zealand age grade reps Alex Awatere, Lewis Gill and Tayne Lockwood as well as International cup stand outs Misilifi Faimalo, Peter Halstead, James Kusel and Josh Morgan-Ranui. With such a strong squad Coaches Jackson and Sabo will have a tough time trimming the final squad. The squad will be trimmed to 26 for the competition.

Congratulations to the 2018 Wellington Tigers Training Squad!
  • Alex Awatere (NCD)
  • Andrew Bisset (WCS)
  • Simon Charles (WCS)
  • Jonah Christians (HVE)
  • Stanley Chung (ESB)
  • James Cocoran (WCS)
  • Cody Dodd (WCS)
  • Misilifi Faimalo (NCD)
  • Jaylan Farris (HVE)
  • Andrew Gavaghan (WCS)
  • Phil Gerald (ESB)
  • Lewis Gill (NCD)
  • Peter Halstead (ESB)
  • James Kusel (HVE)
  • Matt Lewis (ESB)
  • Dan Lewy (ESB)
  • Tayne Lockwood (NCD)
  • Pat Lovelock (HVE)
  • Michael Martinez (ESB)
  • Doug McJorrow (WCS)
  • Kewa McMillan-Parata (ESB)
  • Dean Milburn (HVE)
  • Josh Morgan-Ranui (NCD)
  • Adam Moore (WCS)
  • Blake Neve (ESB)
  • Tom Robby (ESB)
  • John Sabo (ESB)
  • James Sharp (ESB)
  • Luke Shervey (ESB)
  • Keegan Taig (ESB)
  • James Terry (ESB)
  • Peter van Kampen (HVE)
  • Luke Vincent (HVE)
  • Hugh Wilson (ESB)
  • Michael Willis (NCD)

Tigers Squad & Awards Nights Announced

Functions for Tiger’s Squad Announcement & Season 2018 Awards Presentation Set

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The Tiger’s head coach, John Jackson and his coaching panel will announce the 2018 Tiger’s squad at a function after Round 7 on Sun 18 November, at the Stop Out Clubrooms on fringe of Hutt Park.  The announcement will be coupled with food supplied by the WAFL and the bar at Stop Out will be open with refreshments for young and old available for purchase.  This is the Squad that Wellington will take to the South Island to take on Canterbury AFL and Otago AFL in the 2018 NPC!  Come on out to support your teammates, and the wider Wellington Squad!

For the first time in recent memory, Wellington AFL will announce the winners of 4 awards at the Season 2018 Awards Presentation.  This function will be held after the WAFL Grand Final (Sun 9 Dec) in the Stop Out Clubrooms, a stone’s throw from the Hutt Park Oval.  Come on out to support the two teams competing in the 2018 Grand Final (both slots still wide open), and then come out and celebrate the season that was, with food supplied by the WAFL, and drinks for adults & younger ones available for purchase at the Stop Out bar.  Awards for this season include: Rising Star, Coaches Vote, Umpires Vote, and Golden Boot.

See everyone out there for both functions to celebrate our great sport in the coolest little capital!

2018 Wellington Youth Competition Kicks Off

The 2018 Wellington Youth Competition kicked off last Sunday with great representation for the under-15 and under-17 competitions.  Headed by AFL New Zealand, The Youth Competition for boys and girls was created to compliment the pathway for participants to enjoy and excel in AFL.

Each session involves drills, enhancing the players’ skills, confidence & fitness, followed by a game of AFL for the second half of the session.  Each week will introduce new skills and build on the previous weeks, developing well-rounded athletes.

The sessions are held on Sunday mornings before the Senior WAFL competition, and the Senior teams help out with the drills and umpiring of the games.  All skill levels are welcome and represented, from those who are only just hearing about the game to those who have represented New Zealand in the U-18 Boys and Girls sides.

It’s not too late to come on out and give AFL a go, just make sure you register for the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition 2018, and we’ll see you out there!

The Tiger’s Roar: Rounds 1-3

1st Round-Robin Review

At the end of the first round-robin, each team has had the chance to play the others once, and it brings us one-third of the way through the WAFL 2018 season!  As expected, the reigning premiers: E.S. Bulldogs came out of the blocks firing, but through each of the first two games they were behind at some point during the second half, with late goals just before and just after the siren sealing their wins.  Can they carry this momentum through the break and into the Grand Final?

The H.V. Eagles have had a great start to the season, although Player/Manager Peter Van Kampen says there is still a long way to go with the fresh-look Eagles side.  Sitting second on the ladder brings little relief though, as they know they have a target on their back that grows with each win.

The W.C. Saints are pleased to have picked up a few players in the off-season that give them better speed and endurance.  This has always been a challenge, and now they feel they can compete across the field.  The next step is getting a consistent line up across the park (an struggle for most of the league).  Coach Gregor Kempt is “Happy with where we are at, and looking forward to the second round-robin.”

The young-gun Demons have struggled to get a win on the board, but have plenty of positives to take out of the first round-robin of the season.  Competing teams have noted how the Demons are noticeably playing better as a team (ie: shepherding), working through the midfield, even against an experienced Bulldogs side, and how even when they are down on the scoreboard, they are still on the attack until the final siren.  An expected influx of several senior players from Wellington GAA (Gaelic Footballers) after the Labour Weekend break could just be the injection the Demons need to make a convincing shot at playing in the Grand Final in December!

Here is the table after the first round-robin, heading in to the Labour Weekend break:

Position Team Played Won Lost % Form
1 Bulldogs 3 3 0 254 WWW
2 Eagles 3 2 1 153 WLW
3 Saints 3 1 2 83 LWL
4 Demons 3 0 3 33 LLL

2018 WAFL Schedule Published!

AFL GF Viewing and WAFL GF set

The 2018 WAFL Season is about to kick off, with Round 1 featuring a 2017 Grand Final rematch between the Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs & the Wellington City Saints at 1pm, followed by the always tenacious North City Demons taking on the new-look Hutt Valley Eagles at 3pm.

Catch the full 2018 WAFL Schedule, including important dates at the Schedule page.