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Last night the VAFA U18 representative side completed their final preparations before jetting off to New Zealand on Friday for their two match four day tour. 
The team had time to pose for this team photo before running on to Sportscover Arena for a final training session on home soil to refine match tactics for their games this weekend. 
This is a Big V invitational side with 16 clubs represented amongst the 24 players traveling. 
The team has a positive feeling as they prepare continue the trend of the VAFA never losing to our Kiwi rival. 
Matches in the past have been played in Auckland and Christchurch, however the two matches this year will be in Wellington. 
Previous matches have been against a Kiwi U20 side however this year matches will be against the U18 NZ side. 
This is due to the growth in the number of New Zealanders playing Australian rules football that the team can be fielded entirely of U18 players in 2012. 
The VAFA have been at the forefront of developing football with us sending a team to New Zealand to play matches long before St Kilda and the AFL have jumped on our coat tails to play matches there in 2013. 
The coaching staff led by 2011 VAFA Junior Coach of the Year and Old Xaverians U19 coach Tom Maule and the 2012 Big V U19 coach Owen Lalor who will assist Tom are delighted with the group of boys going over. 
“Everyone is really excited about the trip and we want to make certain we return to Australia with the VAFA’s 100% record in tact” said Maule. 
The tour party also includes the President of the VAFA Bruno Conti, the General Manager of Football Operations Tim Noonan, VAFA Umpire Russell Davidson and the Property Steward is the VAFA’s John Robinson. 
Other tour members who are giving their time to the trip are Fitness Adviser David Witchell (Banyule), Physio Nikki Phillips (Old Paradians) and Trainer Kylie Da Fonte (MHSOB). 
We wish the traveling team the best of luck, all scores and match reports plus a tour diary will be on the VAFA website so keep coming back to check it out over the next few days.