Tour Diary – Independent Schools in NZ
Written by Matthew Baigent – Team Manager for New South Wales Independent Schools
GAME ONE – NZ HAWKS vs. NSW INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
Unseasonably warm Wellington weather greeted both the New South Wales Independent Schools and New Zealand Hawks teams on 22 April 2017.
An emotional Haka from the home side opened the match and set the scene for a tough, cross-Tasman clash.
Despite the odds being stacked heavily in the New South Wales team’s favour, the Hawks were quick out of the blocks from the first centre bounce. Unfortunately for the home side, the Independent Schools team was able to withstand this early flourish, and take control of the game from the first quarter.
Clean skills and solid teamwork from the Australian team stood out in the first half of the match, however inaccuracy in front of goal hampered the travelling side’s chance to post a higher score.
Stepping away from the game plan in the third term, the New South Wales team put their own defense under unnecessary pressure. In large thanks to individual brilliance, the Australians were still able to prevent New Zealand from scoring.
Despite the third quarter lapse in concentration, Head Coach Brent Trewin was able to lift his team during the break, reminding the young side of their ‘team first’ mentality.
From there, the New South Wales Independent Schools side overran the New Zealand Hawks by 72 points.
New Zealand Hawks – 0.0.0
NSW Independent Schools – 9.18.72
NSW IS Goals – N. Mooney (3) W. McGowan (2) E. Gulden (2) J. Currie J. Stuart
NSW IS Best – O. Davis (NSW IS coaches pick) N. Mooney (AFLNZ coaches pick) E. Gulden A. Grigg K. Gabila
GAME TWO – NZ HAWKS vs. NSW INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
Windy Wellington lived up to its name during game two of the series, with a solid four-goal wind flying in from the south, having a great impact on the match.
New South Wales Independent Schools kicked with the wind in the first quarter, however found themselves wasting opportunities in front of goal.
New Zealand made the most of the wind in the second quarter, kicking their first two goals of the tournament.
The third quarter finally saw the young New South Welshman kick into gear as goals streamed from all over the park.
With both teams wanting to finish their respective tours on a high note, the physicality of the match reached new heights.
New Zealand kicked two more goals to please the locals, but it was not enough to override the visiting side.
New Zealand Hawks – 4.4.28
NSW Independent Schools – 12.17.89
NSW IS Goals – Gulden (4) Mooney (3) Martin (2) L. Grigg E. Grigg W. Gibbs
NSW IS Best – E. Gulden K. Brady H. Britton N. Mooney K. Gabila
In addition to the two matches played, the New South Wales Independent Schools team spent five days touring Wellington.
The squad visited Te Papa (The Museum of New Zealand), explored Zealandia, and conquered the high ropes course at Adrenaline Forest.
Roaming Wellington Zoo and hunting for the elusive ‘Red Rocks’ on the South Coast were also ticked off the Wellington to-do list.
With the tour taking place on ANZAC Day weekend, the team also attended the Wellington National War Memorial for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service.
While football was the main reason for the Under 16s tour of New Zealand, understanding the plight of the ANZACs was paramount for the travelling team.
The squad will head home from New Zealand tonight with great memories, new mates, and a unique international football experience under their belt.
Congratulations to the New South Wales Independent Schools side on a fantastic tour.