The game of Australian Rules Football, or AFL as it is commonly referred to, has been played in New Zealand since the 1890’s when many Australians travelled to NZ to work in various industries.
Australian Rules Football in New Zealand is notable as the first colony outside of Australia to take up the sport as early as the 1860s, and was home to the first club formed outside Australia in 1876. The sport’s official name was changed in 1890 to Australasian Football to acknowledge New Zealand’s participation and remained for some time, even after the country was expelled from the Australasian Football Council.
By 1901 there were over 100 teams throughout the country, and in 1908 a New Zealand team (wearing a gold fern logo on a black jersey) competed in the Jubilee Australasian Football Carnival at the MCG, with the Kiwis victorious over both New South Wales and Queensland. However, the combination of World War I and The Great Depression saw Rugby emerge as the dominant code.
After a half century hiatus of organised competition, it has grown rapidly as an amateur sport. In 1974, the Canterbury Australian Football Association was formed, and existed with varying levels of success until the year 1998, when the Canterbury Australian Football League (universally known as CAFL) was formed, with this body remaining to this day.
Today, five (5) of New Zealand’s 16 regions have organised competitions – Auckland (Auckland AFL); Canterbury (Canterbury AFL); Wellington (Wellington AFL); Waikato (Waikato AFL) and Otago (Otago AFL). A four-team national competition, known as the AFLNZ Premiership, with a national draft has been contested at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland since 2016 for men and 2019 for women.
Visit the original website dating back to 2009, for old match reports, player reports and biased reporting of the events that took place.