Ian Mitchell is working hard to grow the game in Wolverhampton, England. Read School Sport Issue 40 p18 and 19 to find out what drives this Aussie Rules man.
Young Danish star Mikkel Kjoege is currently on his way to Australia to play for the World XVIII in the National Championships from the 4th – 14th July. Mikkel was identified through the fantastic junior development program in Denmark that has been leading the way in producing young European talent. His inclusion in the recent European Legion squad that played against the touring AIS AFL Academy was another major step in his development and he sure impressed coaches Tadhg Kennelly and Peter Schwab with his athletic wares. Although slight of frame this lad can really explode with pace and has an incredible vertical leap which is sure to impress during the carnival.
AFL Europe would like to wish Mikkel all the best on his adventure and will be posting a daily diary from Mikkel to show what it is like in the elite talent programs within Australia. Hopefully many more Europeans can follow this path and continue to put their names in front of AFL club recruiters. Maybe a European developed footballer being listed at an AFL club is not that far away…
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.
The Europeans took plenty from the days spent under the tutelage of Peter Schwab and Tadhg Kennelly with the knowledge they passed on sure to speed up the development of football all across Europe. 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. The lessons and experience will live long in the memories of the European group as they watch the best young players in the world mature into AFL stars in the coming years.
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)
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’Suileabhain, J. Van Der Hulst, S. Walton, M. Kilheeny
Australian Under 18’s have defeated European Legion by 134 points in the EPG Easter Series held at Surrey Sports Park in London on Saturday April 7.
Lead by High Performance Coach Michael O’Loughlin, the AFL’s future stars dominated early, kicking 15 goals in the first half, with Troy Menzel, brother of Daniel at the Geelong Cats, kicking five goals in a brilliant individual performance.
The European Legion, coached by former Sydney Swan and AFL Ambassador Tadhg Kennelly and AFL Coaching Director Peter Schwab, matched the Australians in the third quarter with only one goal apiece resulting.
The Legion continued to compete fiercely up until the end of the match however they were out-classed by the silky skills of the Australian side.
Most valuable player awards were presented to midfielder Nick Vlastuin from the Australian team and defender Levi Fernandez from Great Britain won the award for European Legion.
The representative European side was made up of Under 23 players from Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Finland.
The Australian team comprised players from across Australia, all being members of the AIS-AFL Academy and are all eligible for the NAB AFL Draft in November this year.
The day also included the launch of AFL 9’s in Europe.
AFL stars, including Stephen Silvagni, Ang Christou, Glen Lovett, Brad Lloyd, AFL Ambassador Robert DiPierdomenico and AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods, all took to the field to showcase AFL 9’s which will be played throughout Europe in 2012.
Australia U18 7.2 (44) 15.6 (96) 16.9 (105) 22.14 (146)
European Legion 1.0 (6) 1.0 (6) 2.0 (12) 2.0 (12)
Australia U18: T. Menzel 5, J. Daniher 4, T. Membrey 3, L. Whitfield 3, J. Toumpas 2, J. O’Rourke, S. Mayes, B. Murdoch, J. Stringer, B. Grundy,
European Legion: M. Bartley, P. McBrearty
Australia U18: N. Vlastuin, L. Whitfield, S. Mayes, O. Wines, T. Menzel, J. Daniher
European Legion: Levi Fernandez, Sean Hurley, Jens Djernes, Muiris Bartley, Emmett Bradley, Connor Gough
The Australian Under 18 team will continue their European tour with the next stop being France where the players will visit the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux and play a historic match in Paris against the European Titans.