NZAFF 2023 NATIONAL FLAG CHAMPIONSHIP
25TH & 26TH MARCH 2023
RONGOMAI PARK | AUCKLAND
400 Athletes, 33 Teams, competing across 4 Grades under the watchful eyes of 17 Officials was the grand makeup of NZ’s 2023 National Flag Championship.
Over 2 days Flag Football Lovers from all across the country flocked to Rongomai Park, filling up the carpark and occupying the sidelines to catch all the Flag action as teams competed for National Championship honors.
The weather was infallible, clear skies and cool winds were inviting conditions for some magnificent Flag Football.
This is the second time Rongomai Park has hosted the NZAFF National Flag Championship and is fast becoming a favorite football ground with capacity for 8 Flag Football Fields, and open sections for teams to congregate and Fans to enjoy.
As with any tournament competition schedule Day 1 consisted of round-robin pool play. AFC Tamarins Men, Metro Men, Takaanini Giants Legends, Metro Women, Wildcats Women & Raiders Women showed their strengths early graduating from initial pool play undefeated, this putting them all on medal contention pathways for Day 2.
NZAFF 2023 Youth National Champions: The Canterbury Redbax
The Canterbury Redbax created a lasting impression in their first national outing. The Redbax, Raiders & Young Hawks made up this division. The Redbax only early defeat was to the Hamilton Young Hawks who missed out on a finals appearance after being knocked out by the Raiders Youth in the qualifier. The Redbax worked well under pressure against a Raiders side who were looking dangerous going deep, evidently American Football Canterbury are running a strong Youth Flag Program in their city which has contributed to their success, with players well connected and concise on and off the ball during the final. Final Score 34-25.
NZAFF 2023 Legends National Champions: The Takaanini Giants - Jedi Masters
The Jedi Master Legends of the Takaanini Giants American Football Club claim National Championship honors in their debut season. Undefeated and all class. Final Score 18-12 in what was a very enjoyable contest, over the Wellington Wolves.
35 years+ is the Legends grade age bracket. The Jedi Masters, Papakura Kings, Tauranga City Tridents & Wellington Wolves made up this division - on witness account this wasn’t easy football with many matchups won just within a TD of each other. Very wise and entertaining Flag Football coming out of this grade and we look forward to many more Legends match-ups in the future.
NZAFF 2023 Women's National Champions: The Papatoetoe Wildcats
The Papatoetoe Wildcats Women, already 4 Time Kiwibowl Champions (Tackle Football) add another cup to the trophy cabinet after an impressive showcase in their victory over Auckland counterparts The Raiders securing the National title 26-8. We have witnessed a spirit of progression from this Wildcats outfit who were the 2022 National Womens - Runners Up. Thoughtful offensive play design, complemented by proactive defensive strategies made for great Flag Football and a very convincing title win for the Papatoetoe Wildcats Women.
NZAFF 2023 Men's National Champions:
The Hawkes Bay Heat finally take the National Men's Championship trophy home, officially, after 2 x in the semi-finals and a quarter-final last year. They have proven to themselves they are the best in the country in 2023, and formidably so after a come-from-behind, buzzer beating like victory over the AFC Tamarins who were first on the board. The Open Men's bracket consisted of 17 teams this season, congratulations to both the Hawkes Bay Heat & the AFC Tamarins for making the top two & producing such an epic final. Final Score 20-14.
Congratulations Champions ! The atmosphere and the buzz around the tournament was absolutely sensational. Congratulations and well done to all those involved in achieving a successful event.
Congratulations also to all 400 athletes, their coaches & clubs, who competed at the 2023 Flag National Championship. Officially the 4th of its kind and with the growth phenomenal, we look forward to bringing a Bigger, Badder, Better Flag Nationals for all, come 2024.
Relive all the 2023 Flag Nationals action on SkySport Next here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0IGigdHj3Y&t=12660s)