The AFL’s Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Academy Program team has again defeated the European Legion in an Easter Series exhibition match which marked the 125th anniversary of the first game ever played in Europe.
Played at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, United Kingdom, on the 6th of April this was the third year running the teams have faced each other as part of the annual Easter Series in Europe.
The AFL’s AIS team is made up of Australia’s next AFL stars, with on average 80% of the AIS team playing in the AFL competition. Last year’s #1 NAB AFL Draft pick, Lachie Whitfield, played in the 2012 Easter Series and this years team was being closely monitored by recruiters from all 18 AFL clubs.
The European squad was made up of the best players from Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Germany, who travelled to London for a one week training camp with Tadhg Kennelly (Premiership Player with the Sydney Swans and GAA All-Ireland winner with Kerry) and Brad Ottens (3-time Premiership Player with the Geelong Cats) ahead of the match.
Australia were surprised by the European team this year with 2 goals kicked by the Legion players meaning that the highly regarded Aussies were only 14 points ahead at ¼ time. In a very physical contest the teams went head to head with the Australia teams finishing ability proving to be the major difference between the teams.
Whilst the European team battled for the full match the end result showed the true class of what is surely a group of young men ready to become stars of Australia’s most popular sport. Europe have improved dramatically year on year and compared to the first year when the Australians scored 220 points to 2 goals it shows the sport is heading in the right direction.
Prior to the main game Irish Warriors took on the GB Bulldogs. Whilst the Irish had brought over a weaker than normal squad and the Bulldogs were experimenting with their line up prior to the 2013 European Championships these rivals always have physical contests. The football was willing for the whole match however the Bulldogs proved to strong and ran out winners 9.5.59 to 1.1.7.
AFL 9’s GAME
For the 2nd year running the AFL 9’s celebrity match was held. AFL 9’s is a fast free flowing touch/tag version of the sport played as 9-a-side and can be played as a mixed sport. The match including many of the AFL’s past legends including Dipper, Brady Rawlings, Jason McCarthey, Tony Woods and Steven Silvagni
AFL Europe in conjunction with Proactive South London will launch the first AFL 9’s social competition in London this summer. The series will be played at Clapham Common and anyone wishing to form a team should get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Australia AIS: 4.2 (26) 8.9 (57) 12.13 (85) 15.14 (104)
European Legion: 2.0 (12) 2.0 (12) 3.0 (18) 3.0 (18)
Australia: Matthew Scharenberg 3, Darcy Hourigan 3, James Tsitas 2, Lloyd Perris 1, Jack Billings 1, Matthew Crouch 1, Dominic Sheed 1, Ben Lennon 1, Marcus Botempelli 1, Cain Tickner 1
European Legion: Eliot Rich 1, Shane Carthy 1, Padraig Lucey 1
Australia: Matthew Scharenberg (SA), Ben Lennon (Vic), Dwayne Wilson (SA), Joshua Kelly (Vic), Errin Wasley-Black (NT), Marcus Botempelli (Vic), Luke Dunstan (SA)
European Legion: Niall Scully (Ireland), Padraig Lucey (Ireland), Sean Walton (England), Mikkel Kjoege (Denmark), Ethan Rafferty (Ireland), Mathias Biron (Denmark)