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'He knows how to score' - Auckland snap up AFL youngster for Mitre 10 Cup


When Auckland's defence of the Mitre 10 Cup gets underway later this week, an unexpected cross-code star could be turning out in the blue and white hoops.

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Kurt Heatherley has been snapped up by the Mitre 10 Cup champions. Source: 1 NEWS

Having been plying his trade as a Kiwi star of Australia's AFL, 24-year-old Kurt Heatherley has converted to rugby for the upcoming provincial season, and Auckland is not wasting any time in snapping him up.

The Tauranga native was plucked by the Hawthorn Hawks as a teen, making his AFL debut five years later - the first born-and-bred Kiwi to do so.

De-listed by Hawthorn last year, though, Heatherley has turned his attention to the 15-man code, even training with the Melbourne Rebels before heading back to New Zealand.

"I think my time's sort of passed," Heatherley told 1 NEWS.

"I've always had a desire to play at the highest level here, so I thought just coming back here I'd put my best foot forward."

Auckland are hoping Heatherley's experience playing Australian rules football will see him adapt to rugby.

"His aerial skills are pretty good, his kicking game is very good, and he knows how to finish," coach Alama Ieremia told 1 NEWS.

"He knows how to score tries."

Auckland begin their Mitre 10 Cup campaign this Friday, taking on local rivals North Harbour in the battle of the bridge.