28 Apr 2014

Sport: NZ beat South Pacific to draw AFL series

12:36 pm on 28 April 2014

The New Zealand Hawks bounced back from a shock loss to beat the South Pacific AFL team 76-39 in Lower Hutt on Sunday and salvage a series draw.

The home side led 30-0 at the end of the first period and 54-27 after the second to restore normal order against the composite team featuring players from New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands.

New Zealand assistant coach Andrew Congalton took charge of the South Pacific team for the week and says despite a losing finish he was pleased with the side's performance.

"We said to them we had to have a really big third quarter to have a chance of staying in the game and they definitely delivered that. We were just lacking some experience on the ground today - we had four guys drop out. Unfortunately one of them, big man Chris [Cakabou] from Fiji - one of our ruckmen - he injured his neck and that did make a difference for us losing key players and young guys just seemed to run out of legs a little bit in that last quarter and [iy] slipped away."

Andrew Congalton says the bulk of the players on show over the weekend are likely to be a part of the triennial AFL International Cup in August.