Jake Stringer of Vic Country won MVP in the AIS-AFL Academy game against Europe

Europe Learn from Australia's Best

Monday, April 16, 2012

In the first ever AFL representative match played on French soil, the Australia Under 18s team overwhelmed the enthusiastic European Titans by 167 points in a great exhibition of exciting football.

Played at the picturesque Chantilly Polo Club just outside of Paris on Thursday April 12, the young Australian side had great mobile marking targets up forward in Jake Stringer and James Stewart.

The team received great supply from its exciting midfield lead by Nick Vlastuin, Emmanuel Irra and Jason Pongracic.

When the Titans went forward it found it almost impossible to get past the Aussie defence with tall defender Lachie Plowman and the versatile Lachie Whitfield reading the play superbly and setting up many forward thrusts.

Europe’s only goal came in the last quarter with a smart evasive step from one of the three Frenchmen in the team, Gregoire Patacq, slotting it through from 40 metres, delighting the appreciative crowd that attended this historic game for the AFL code.

Most valuable player medals were awarded to Australia's Jake Stringer (Victoria Country, Bendigo Pioneers) and European Titans' ruckmen Paul O'Halloran (Ireland).

The Australia Under 18s team, all members of the AIS-AFL Academy, return to Australia on the weekend and will prepare for next month's NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

The European Titans return to club football in Ireland, Holland, Sweden, England, Wales, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and France after the history-making match in Chantilly.


Australia U18s:           6.4 (40)           14.7 (91)             20.11 (131)             27.15 (177)
European Titans:        0.0 (0)             0.1 (1)                 0.2 (2)                     1.4 (10)

Goal Kickers
Australia U18s:
J. Stewart 6, J. Stringer 3, T. Membrey 2, E. Irra 2, O. Wines 2, L. Wilkins 2, J. Bourke 2, T. Smith 2, B. Grundy 2, L.Whitfield, N. Vlastuin, J. Toumpas, T. Menzel
European Titans: G. Patacq

Australia U18s:
J. Stringer, J. Stewart, J. Bourke, L. Plowman, E. Irra, L. Whitfield, N. Vlastuin, J. Pongracic
European Titans: P. O'Halloran, E. O'Suileabhai, J. Van Der Hulst, S. Walton, M. Kilheeny

The AIS-AFL Academy is an element of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL.

The NAB AFL Rising Stars Program provides recognition and a clearly identifiable direction for a player's career, and comprises the following elements:

  • NAB AFL Rising Star

  • NAB AFL Draft

  • NAB AFL Draft Combine

  • NAB AFL Under 18 Championships

  • AIS-AFL Academy

  • NAB AFL Under 16 Championships

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Martin, 17-04-12 00:02:
The Aussies have given the Europeans a footy lesson. Well done.
Colin, 17-04-12 17:55:

Ozhog, 21-04-12 19:33:
After reading the names of some of the Aussie players it would be interesting to see this game played on some form of "origin" basis.
Cris, 21-04-12 23:48:
As good as it is getting such a big win, it cant be good for the game to win in such a way. if AFL is to get a following in other parts of the world things like this would be a big turn off. how many of the European players and supports give up on the game after a performance like that and turn to more established codes like soccer and rugby? I didnt expect the European team to be competitive but that score is a bit to one sided for the good of the game by me.
Alban, 27-04-12 04:16:
To Cris,
Don't worry mate, none of the europeans are gonna give up on the game. We had a awesome opportunity to play against some of the future AFL players. Unfortunately we only had one day to get to know each other and to build a field.
We also had 8 rucks in the team and a lot of players usually play on the midfield. Finally we had two hours to train and gets some strategy. I was part of it and it was actually a really good experience.

If you would see how passionate we all are about the game you would be surprised.Peter Schwab and Tadhg Kennedy saw how much we all love Aussie Rules and were (I believe) really happy to part of this short adventure...
Eoin, 01-05-12 04:09:
Hey Cris,

I agree with my team-mate Alban above, the game only cemented in my mind that AFL is growing in Europe. Some of our players have only taken up the game in the past 2 or 3 years, and we get an oppertunity to play against the best up and coming talent Australia has to offer. That doesn't happen in any other sport.

I've played in the International Cup 2011 in Australia, the EuroCup and EC2010 in Italy, Sweden and Denmark, and play weekly here in Ireland. If you could only see the enthusiasm behind the games we play, the commitment from the guys playing, organising, coaching, umpiring, etc. you would see that these games are a huge bonus.

If we had longer to prepare, more sessions together to work on tactics, etc. then i'm sure we could have held The AIS boys to a lower score and maybe kick a few more ourselves. We'd never match them for skills or ability, but we could improve on those scores.

Last year they beat the European U-23 team by 220+ points, this year by 150. A years progress.

And did you see the footage of their visit to the local schools? Those children will follow the game from now on.

Overall, i think its a great experience to pit ourselves against these boys and learn from the likes of Tadhg Kennelly and Peter Schwab.

Long may it last.
Big Brian from Perth., 04-05-12 10:17:
Great to hear the comments from the two Euro U/23 players below - Australian Rules footy is an awesome game and i love hearing non-Australian people get passionate about the game... Good on you boys and i hope the AFL supports you guys and the teams/leagues you all play in... See you next time we have international rules in Australia !