Over the second week of the school holidays the U15 Aon Nationals was hosted by ABSL and held at Bruce Pulman Arena in Takanini. It was a great showcase of up and coming U15 athletes from all around the country and the level of play certainly did not disappoint. The U15 Waitakere West Auckland Premiers did the ABSL community proud as they became the 2018 U15 National Champions winning 79-58 against Waitaha Canterbury Red.
Waitakere West was led by Dontae Russo-Nance and eventual tournament MVP Tautoko Wynyard against a tough Waitaha Canterbury Red team in the Grand Final. Waitaha Red started the game off strong and going into half time with a double digit deficit, it was looking like Waitaha would come away with the victory. After clawing their way back into the game in the third quarter Waitakere West had all the momentum going into the fourth quarter only being down 53-54 at the end of the third. Waitakere eventually found their groove both offensively and defensively winning the quarter 26-4. A huge achievement for Waitakere West Auckland Premiers, claiming 1st place in a tournament that featured exceptional teams from around New Zealand.
Congratulations to the other ABSL teams who competed and made their respective associations proud. In the boys competition Auckland Premier claimed a respectable 5th place and Waitakere West Reserves, who are all bottom aged, claimed 18th place.
In the girls competition Auckland Premier Girls also claimed 5th place, Counties Manukau claiming 12th and just like the Waitakere West Reserve Boys being bottom age, the Auckland Reserve Girls team managed to come away with 18th place, which was also a great achievement.
The tournament was a great experience for all the athletes as they got to go up against some of the top U15 teams. This definitely helps top-aged players from this season with their development and transition for the U17 representative season next year. The bottom-aged players from this U15 season will have this vital experience up their sleeves in order to improve for next year’s U15 representative season.
With Waitakere West Auckland Premiers Boys making the grand final and both Auckland Premiers boys and girls teams making the Top 5, Dontae Russo-Nance, Tautoko Wynyard, River Drefers and Savannah Cook were deservedly named in the tournament teams. A special achievement for Tautoko Wynyard as he was also awarded tournament MVP.
A huge congratulations to all athletes!
Thank you to all coaches, managers, parents and supporters for their dedication and commitment throughout the U15 representative season.
U15 Boys Placings:
1st - Waitakere West Auckland Premier
5th - Auckland Premier
18th – Waitakere West Auckland Reserves
U15 Girls Placings
5th – Auckland Premier
12th - Counties Manukau
18th – Auckland Reserves
Tournament Team Selections
Savannah Cook – Auckland Premier
Dante Russo Nance - Waitakere West Auckland Premier
River Drefers – Auckland Premier
Tautoko Wynyard - Waitakere West Auckland Premier
Boys Most Valuable Player
Tautoko Wynyard - Waitakere West Premier