The Adelaide Dragons will be hoping some Kiwi flair will boost their Australian Ultimate League chances in 2019.
Wellington’s Aaron Neal is one of the many changes to the Dragons roster this season, joining fellow New Zealand player Lauchlan Robertson in Adelaide.
Neal also brings with him a goal to grow the sport of Ultimate not only in Australia but across Oceania.
“Ultimate is an exciting sport to watch due to its high skill element, fast pace and big plays, while all the while being beautiful to watch,” he said.
“If you add to this the spirit component, it has the chance to become the biggest sport worldwide.
“For this to happen I think it needs to keep pushing itself to grow new competitions. It may need to adapt rules or regulations to make this happen but I believe we will keep seeing it grow and build internationally and within Oceania.”
Neal looks to inspire the next generation
Neal has also tested his skills playing in the United States, the home of Ultimate with more than five million registered players.
His journey began as a young footballer and cricket player in New Zealand, but his path towards Ultimate was inspired by his siblings who both picked up the sport at university.
Watching both his brother and sister make their mark in Ultimate gave Aaron both an appreciated for mixed-gender sport and also on being a role model to younger athletes.
“To me, it is important to show younger generations strong role models in both genders and to give athletes an opportunity to compete at the highest level in an environment that understands the differences, but both respects and values what each gender brings to the table,” he said.
Now he is looking forward to showcasing his talents in the AUL and believes it is a league that will be spectacular to watch again in 2019.
“People should watch AUL as Ultimate itself is an exciting and beautiful sport,” he said.
“With the AUL you have the chance to watch the best women and men in Australia playing the sport with a huge amount of athleticism and skill. It will be a spectacular show.”