Tui Dugan, right, playing for Wairarapa United. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Wairarapa’s Tui Dugan and Zander Edwards capped off a memorable week at the National Age Grade Tournament in Wellington with selection in their respective tournament teams.

Dugan was part of the Capital Under-16 girls’ team that won their competition and was rewarded with selection in the under-16 girls’ tournament team, while Edwards – representing the Mainland Under-14 boys’ team – made the boys’ under-14 tournament team.

There were plenty of other Wairarapa players who also made their mark at the tournament.

Noah Boyce, Stanley Archibald, Jonny Roubos and Matt King were part of the Capital Under-16 boys’ team that won their competition, while Luca Molnar [Mainland Under-15 boys] and Darby Lambert [Capital Under-14 girls] also featured.

Capital had an outstanding tournament, with their two under-16 teams winning their respective titles.

The girls’ team went through unbeaten, winning four of their six matches, along with two draws, to finish at the top of the table on 14 points.

The boys’ team won five of their six matches to finish on 15 points.

The overall tournament winner is the federation that picks up the most points across all five age groups, and this year it was won by Mainland Football.

Mainland didn’t win any of the age group competitions, but accumulated enough points across the board to take top spot.

It has been quite a year for Dugan, who was a regular for Wairarapa United this season, and also spent four days in Auckland for a New Zealand Under-17 Identification camp.

Wairarapa were also represented on the refereeing front, with Alex Dahlberg in action for 17 games at the tournament, whether through refereeing or running the sideline.

The boys’ under-14 grade was won by WaiBOP, while the girls’ under-14 grade title went to Central.

The boys’ under-15 title was won by Auckland.

Capital Football Federation development manager, Steeve Sharpe, said the tournament was one of the important steps in player development and provided both great talent ID opportunities and a positive learning environment.

“To come together as a federation is a special experience, nothing compares to a tournament environment and to have that opportunity to be put in front of New Zealand Football high performance staff is not just important but also a great learning experience.”