After being postponed due to COVID-19, this year’s event will see a revamped competition at a different time of year and in a new city, with Auckland taking over hosting duties from Wellington.
It’s also the first time the national competition will be broadcast with Sunday’s finals matches available live and free to air on Sky Sport Next.
“Really, it’s just about getting the sport out there in front of everybody,” says Russell McConnochie, the NZAFF General Manager.
“American Football is a minor sport, and this showcases the non-contact version which can be played by anybody, anywhere.”
The competition will be comprised of two pools of five teams, with the top two from each pool progressing to the knockout stage.
With more teams than ever before, this year’s road to the championship will be hotly contested.
“Every year there’s an upset. There are several teams that have not played in national tournaments before. There are a couple of possible dark horses,” says McConnochie.
“The Hawke’s Bay Heat, Nelson Honey Badges, and Tamaki Lightening are always in there. The North Harbour Pride are also ones to watch. Christchurch's AGC Spitfire and Auckland’s Metro Lions are both newbies and unknown quantities, like any sport it depends which teams brought on the day. The South Auckland Raiders are going big with two teams entered and the Hamilton Hawks will be travelling to compete as well.
A tournament team will be selected from the championships, with selection also up for grabs to the New Zealand high-performance unit, where the Flag Football national team is selected from.
NZAFF are exploring the possibility of a Trans-Tasman battle for the Makos in the near future, dependent on the travel restrictions under COVID-19.
The draw is now up and available here. Live updates will be posted throughout the Club Flag Football National Championships on NZAFF’s web site, social media pages and on the NZAFF app.
For more information please go to www.nzaff.co.nz or follow the event on Facebook and Instagram.