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New Zealand captain Andrew Congalton takes a strong mark ahead of an Indian opponent during the 2008 Australian Football International Cup
The New Zealandmarker's national Australian rules football team, nicknamed the Falcons are selected from the best New Zealand born and developed players, primarily from the clubs of the New Zealand AFL. Although there are New Zealand born professional players in the AFL (including Trent Croad, Adam Campbell and Brent Renouf) they are generally ineligible for selection.

The team were International champions between 2005-2008 having won the 2005 Australian Football International Cup, but defeated by Papua New Guinea in 2008 and considered a distant second to Australia in the sport.


The team is name after the country's only native Falcon species, the New Zealand Falcon or Karearea.

Like the All Blacks NZ national rugby union team, the Falcons perform the Maori ritual wardance, the haka before each game.

Also (like the All Blacks), the team wears an all black guernsey with the silver fern, a national symbol of New Zealand.


The Falcons are the modern version of the team that defeated both New South Walesmarker and Queenslandmarker at the Jubilee Australasian Football Carnival. Australian Football was seldom played in New Zealand between 1908 and 1974.

New Zealand was reintroduced to international Australian Football at the Arafura Games in 1995. The team also competed in the 1997 and 1999 games, winning the Silver medal in each year of the competition as runners up to Papua New Guineamarker.

The team competed in the inaugural 2002 Australian Football International Cup finishing in 3rd place.

Warming up for the 2005 International Cup, the Falcons played a touring Mafframarker (from the strong Victorian Country Football League in Gippsland, Victoria, Australiamarker) at Manurewa in New Zealand but were defeated by 70 points, dulling expectations of the team's appearance in the next international event, but at the same time displaying the massive disparity between the competitive level of the sport in the two countries.

However with the growing popularity of Aussie Rules in New Zealand, the much improved 2005 New Zealand International Cup side went through the competition undefeated, claiming the title of International Champions by defeating Papua New Guineamarker in the Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker, effectively claiming the title from previous winners Irelandmarker. The team took most by surprise and no other side was able to come close to winning against them.

The Falcon's best and fairest player (from the 2005 International Cup) was Matthew Callaghan.

Following the overwhelming success of the team's 2005 International Cup appearance, the Falcons were invited to play at the Australian Country Championships in 2006 to be held on the Gold Coast. The qualification rules of this competition are more lenient, and the Falcons were able to play non New Zealand born players to make them competitive against Australian sides from country leagues. The Falcons were not successful at the event, losing heavily to Queensland, by 9 points to Victoria B and by 63 points to the Indigenous All-Stars.

Warming up for the 2008 cup, New Zealand were once again convincingly defeated by Maffra. The team, however went on to win all of its first 3 rounds by massive margins, leading its pool by a massive percentage to play off in the finals against Ireland, Papua New Guinea and South Africa. Though the Falcons lost to a determined Papua New Guinea in the Grand Final. Richard Bradley was the tournament's equal leading goalkicker with Canada's Scott Fleming and was one of three New Zealanders selected in the All-International (world) team.

2008 AFL International Cup Squad

Richard Bradley takes a spectacular mark against India in the 2008 International Cup
Number Name Club Height (cm) Weight (kg)
1 Mitchell Mace Hamilton Tuis 176 74
2 Liam Ackland Mt Roskill Saints 176 65
3 Scott McNally Old Melburnians (VAFA) 185 84
4 Michael Boyce Mt Roskill Saints 166 60
5 James Monaghan University Blues 171 88
6 Geoffrey Thomas (VC) Eastern Blues 174 75
7 Morgan Jones (VC) University of Queensland AFCmarker 179 79
8 Paul Gunning Warnbro Swans 171 79
9 Andrew Congalton (C) Takapuna Eagles 184 94
10 Marcus Jones Mt Roskill Saints 180 79
11 James Bowden Eastern Blues 184 89
12 John Maling Waitakere Magpies 180 59
13 Lewis Hurst Mt Roskill Saintes 179 85
14 Andrew Buckthought University Blues 176 87
15 David Rattenbury Waitakere Magpies 184 76
16 David Cory-Toussaint University Blues 188 85
17 Richie Marsden Eastern Blues 187 104
19 Andrew Crighton North Shore Tigers 180 90
20 Andriu Sucu North Shore Tigers 185 79
21 Nic Cunneen North Shore Tigers 187 91
23 Matthew Callaghan Thornlie Lions 194 96
24 Luke Kneebone Hamilton Mavericks 178 88
26 Richard Bradley Eastern Blues 192 90
27 Sam Whitehead Ashburton Eagles 195 113
28 Matthew Van Wijk Hamilton Mavericks 170 75
29 Graham Rattenbury Eastern Bulldogs 176 79
30 Shane Browne Eastern Blues 176 84
31 Matt Crighton North Shore Tigers 185 85
33 Aaron Harris University Cougars 184 89
34 Jared Court Eastern Blues 180 94
35 Moss Doran Sth Warrnambool Roosters 192 95


  1. New Zealand given a football lesson by touring Maffra Eagles by Aaron Richard for
  2. Reality Check for International Footy by Brett Northey for

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