The AIS-AFL Academy Squad will depart for a 13-day tour of Europe on Saturday March 31. Lead by High Performance Coach Michael O’Loughlin, 30 of the country’s best players at Under 18 level will visit Italy, England and for the first time France.
To kick off the tour, the Australian squad will take on Box Hill Hawks at the MCG on Thursday March 29 at 4:30pm as the curtain-raiser to the Richmond-Carlton Opening Round match.
Michael O’Loughlin said it is a fantastic opportunity for the elite under age players to represent their country. “Our game at the MCG will be very special for our young team, giving them the chance to shine on our biggest stage before the team tours Europe.”
“The Australian squad will experience world class facilities and coaching in Italy when they train at the Australian Sports Commission facility in Varese. They will put their elite training to the test when they take on Europe’s top players; the European Legion in London and the European Titans in an historic game in Paris.”
“We are really pleased that the AIS-AFL Academy will have the chance to showcase Australia’s game in Europe, while playing a key role in supporting the AFL’s international development plan.
“Following on from the Academy’s visit to Gallipoli on Anzac Day in 2011, this year's squad will honour the sacrifice made by Australian soldiers during World War I by paying their respect at the War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux,” Michael said.
AIS-AFL Academy mentors Tadhg Kennelly and Matthew Lloyd, AFL Director of Coaching Peter Schwab, AFL National Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan and AFL Ambassador Robert DiPierdomenico will also be part of the tour.
The AIS-AFL Academy Squad will receive their Australian guernseys at a function tomorrow, Wednesday March 28 at Etihad Stadium.
The tour highlights:
April 2 - 5 Training at the Australian Sports Commission facility in Varese in northern Italy
April 7 Australia Under 18 v European Legion following the official European launch of AFL 9's in London
April 10 Visit to the War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux where the Australian squad will hold a football clinic with the local community
April 12 Australia Under 18 v European Titans in an historic game in Paris
Australia Under 18 Team List:
Jordan Bourke (Morningside, Qld), Clay Cameron (Mt Gravatt, Qld), Brodie Murdoch (Glenelg, SA), Aiden Corr (Macleod FC / Northern Knights, Vic Metro), Joe Daniher (Aberfeldie FC / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro), Ben Kennedy (Brighton / Glenelg, SA), Brodie Grundy (Unley / Sturt, SA), Matthew Haynes (Yarrambat FC / Northern Knights, Vic Metro), Emmanuel Irra (Port Noarlunga / South Adelaide, SA), Jesse Lonergan (Launceston, Tas), Liam McBean (Aberfeldie FC / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro), Sam Mayes (Port FC / North Adelaide, SA), Troy Menzel (Golden Grove FC / Central Districts, SA), Tim Membrey (Traralgon FC, Gippsland Power), Jonathan O’Rourke (Gisborne Rookies JFC / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro), Lachlan Plowman (Macedon / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro), Jason Pongracic (Koo Wee Rup FC / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country), Mason Shaw (South Fremantle, WA), Josh Simpson (East Fremantle, WA), Tanner Smith (Kalkee FC / North Ballarat Rebels, Vic Country), James Stewart (Glen Iris JFC / Sandringham Dragons, Vic Metro), Jake Stringer (Eaglehawk FC / Bendigo Pioneers, Vic Country), Shannon Taylor (Claremont, WA), Jimmy Toumpas (Flinders Park / Woodville West Torrens, SA), Jack Viney (Carey Baptist / Oakleigh Chargers, Vic Metro), Nick Vlastuin (Eltham / Northern Knights, Vic Metro), Lachie Whitfield (Mornington FC / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country), Laine Wilkins (Peel Thunder, WA), Oliver Wines (Echuca FC, Bendigo Pioneers), Nathan Wright (Berwick FC, Dandenong Stingrays).
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 NAN AFL Rising Stars program provides recognition and a clearly identifiable direction for a players’ career. Comprising of the following elements:
NAB AFL Rising Star
NAB AFL Draft
NAB AFL Draft Combine
NAB AFL Under 18 Championships
NAB AFL Under 16 Championships.