AFL focuses on converting New Zealanders

Last updated 16:52 31/10/2012
nick riewoldt celia wade-brown

BRUSHING UP: St Kilda AFL team captain Nick Riewoldt gives Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown a few pointers in preparation for next year's premiership game in Wellington.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

AFL's Saints confirm Anzac Day return to capital Adventure racers ready for thriller in Wanaka Parker-Klitschko workout counted out again Oracle team up with Airbus for America's Cup United States down NZ to take series lead Woman completes 126km open-water swim Royals even World Series with rout of Giants Joseph Parker's next opponent almost secured Desire for London-based NFL team growing Mark Hunt 'tries to knock you out all the time'

New Zealand is the next frontier for the AFL - in the short term and beyond.

The AFL want to start attracting elite Kiwi sportsmen into the draft.

The league will make history on Anzac Day next year when St Kilda play Sydney in Wellington - the first match for premiership points outside Australia.

Their short-term priority remains ensuring the success of the Gold Coast and GWS expansion teams.

But AFL chief operating officer Gil McLachlan said that the game's bosses have thought about the potential of the NZ experiment.

''Long-term, who knows where it goes - I think there's 30,000 registered AFL players in NZ right now,'' he said.

''The dream maybe is that one day you could have a team over there, that's the long-term future.

''There's no time frame, it's just a dream, but in the short term it's taking our product into NZ, our near neighbour.

''It would be wonderful to have some talented kids coming out of NZ, being drafted.''

McLachlan added it made sense to expand the AFL into NZ.

''The time zone works, the travel works, they have a similar-minded, sports-mad group of people who will get behind our game,'' he said.

''It's just incredibly exciting, playing a game in NZ.

''It's a real reflection about the growth and scale of our game  ... I'm optimistic we'll sell that game out.

''To see a game played for premiership points in another country is a big step for this code.''

In addition to the Anzac Day clash between the Saints and the Swans, the AFL have committed to playing two games in NZ in both  2014 and 2015.

Ad Feedback

- AAP

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

What do you think of the sentence handed down to former Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius?

It is about what I thought he'd get

Not harsh enough, he deserved more

Too tough, he should have got less

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content