TOUR STATS: (Started/Interchange/Tries/Goals/Points)
Jay ASTON 1/3/1/0/4
Mitchell AUBUSSON 3/1/3/0/12
Steve BEAUMONT 3/0/1/0/4
Nathan BECKETT 3/1/0/0/0
Andrew BELL 2/0/0/0/0
Nick COLLEY 3/0/0/0/0
Israel FILAU 3/1//0/0/0
Daniel GREAVES 5/0/1/0/4
Mitch GRIFFITHS 4/0/2/0/8
Robert JONES 1/1/1/0/4
Marty LEWIS 3/0/1/0/4
Pat McPHERSON 2/0/0/0/0
Joel MOON 3/1/2/0/8
Pat NORTON 2/0/0/0/0
Zac PACZOWSKI 2/1/1/0/4
Brady PAYNE 3/1/2/0/8
Zac RUSS 3/2/0/0/0
Matt SMITH 2/2/0/0/0
Nathan STRUDWICK 1/2/0/0/0
Alex SWITZER 3/1/0/0/0
Alex TALLON 5/0/9/20/76
Dave TAYLOR 3/1/0/0/0
Simona VAVEGA 1/2/0/0/0
Harry WITT 4/0/0/0/0

ENGLISH AVENGE FIRST TEST DEFEAT: A revitalised Engish Academy side avenged their defeat at Castleford five days earlier with a convincing 30-10 defeat of the AIS team at St.Helens in the last match of their five match tour of France and England. The game was effectively all over at half time with the English side leading 28-0, but to the AIS side's credit they fought back to score the only two tries of the second stanza, restricting the English to a penalty goal.
England made a mistake from the kickoff, but the Australians were unable to capitalise, a dropped ball on the second tackle only five metres out proving to be a portent of what was to be a disastrous half. It was like watching the Tri-Nations final again as a combination of mistakes in attack and defence, opposition enthusiasm, some baflling local refereeing, and the bounce of the ball conspired to keep the visitors scoreless, whilst allowing in five tries. After conceding two converted tries in the first eight minutes and a third ten minutes later, the AIS team steadied, but the sin-binning of Nathan Studwick five minutes before half-time proved disastrous, with two further tries before the break putting the English out of reach.
The AIS eventually got on the board 9 minutes after the break when full-back Zac Russ, who was one of their best, threw a nice long pass to Mitch Griffiths who cut through wide out. A glimmer of hope was provided ten minutes later when a neat kick through close to the line by Matt Smith was snatched out of the air by Alex Tallon to score his 9th try of the tour, with is conversion bring the AIS back within three converted tries with 20 minutes to play. The English snuffed out any hopes with a penalty goal 9 minutes from the end providing the final margin of 30-10.
The AIS definitely missed injured pair Simona Vavega and Nick Colley, with the forwards definitely showing the effects of the previous clash.  Props Dave Taylor and Alex Switzer tried hard, and non-stop second rower Marty Lewis topped the tackle count. The AIS Man-of-the-Match Joel Moon was strong in the backs, and Daniel Greaves swapping between centre and wing put in a solid performance.
Whilst it was a disappointing end to the tour, the team did well to win 4 out of 5, including the first test and it was good to see them win the second half of the last game despite their poor start.
Full tour stats are below the game stats.

AIS Team: 1.Zac Russ, 2.Daniel Greaves, 3.Alex Tallon, 4.Israel Filau, 5.Mitch Griffiths, 6.Joel Moon, 7.Brady Payne, 8.Dave Taylor, 9.Harry Witt, 10.Alex Switzer, 11.Marty Lewis, 12.Mitchell Aubusson, 13.Nathan Beckett, 14.Matt Smith, 15.Nathan Strudwick, 16.Zac Paczkowski, 17.Jay Aston

English Academy 30 (Thomas Lee 2, Chris Frodsham, Steven Tyrer, Chris Riley tries; Tyrer 5/6 goals) def AIS 10 (Mitch Griffiths, Alex Tallon tries; Tallon 1/2 goals) (HT: English Academy28-0) Men of the Match: Joel Moon (AIS); Paul Clough (English Academy). Man of the Series: Stephen Bannister (English Academy)
Minute by minute:
6th min: Thomas Lee try/Steve Tyrer conv; EA 6-0
8th min: Chris Frodsham try/Steve Tyrer conv; EA 12-0
18th min: Steve Tyrer try/conv; EA 18-0
34th min: Chris Riley try; EA 22-0
37th min: Thomas Lee try/Steve Tyrer conv; EA 18-0
FIRST HALF STATS: Pens: EA 4-3; Scrums: EA 5-4; Comp: AIS 9/17; EA 17/24
49th min: Mitch Griffiths try; EA 28-4
60th min: Alex Tallon try/conv; EA 28-10
71st min: Steve Tyrer pen gl' EA 30-10
SECOND HALF STATS: Pens: AIS 6-5; Scrums: 3-3. Comp: AIS 17/25; EA 11/20
TOTAL STATS: Pens: 9-9; Scrums: EA 8-7; Completions: AIS 26/42; France 28/44

AIS SCORE THRILLING WIN IN FIRST TEST: The AIS touring team survived a slow start to defeat the England Academy 28-26 in the First Test in bitterly cold conditions at Castleford. Fortunately the predicted snow held off, so the field was in very good condition, but it was the English who started the best wuth big centre Steve Tyrer causing all sorts of problems for the AIS defence, crossing for two tries in the opening ten minutes. The Australians started to get into the match, which was certainly harder than any other on the tour, and opened their account with Alex scoringfrom a good "second man" play on the blind-side. HIs conversion went wide, as had a previous penalty attempt, and things looked even more grom for the visitors when England scored from a cross field kick, whilst Simona Vavega, playing in the unfamiliar position of lock, was down nursing a disclocated shoulder. Despite a couple of good opportunities just before the break, the Australians were unable to breach the locals' defence and went into the break trailling 14-4.
Coach Brian Johnson must have delivered one of the best half-time speeches of all time, as within 7 minutes of the resumption the AIS had scored three converted tries, the first to man-of-the-match halfback Brady Payne, and the next two to non-stop second rower Mitchell Aubusson, all after hooker Nathan Strudwick had made several outstanding dashes out of dummy half. After 15 minutes of the half, Alex Tallon crossed again wide out, and his sideline conversion, which was to prove critical in the end, saw the AIS extend their lead to 28-14. The AIS looked to have the match in their keeping but an intercept try to the English Academy winger with 15 mins remaining gave them hope. When their halfback scored after backing up a break it was suddenly 28-26 with 9 minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the crowd and the players the referee was keeping hos own time and allowed 6 minutes of injury time, during which the English had three clear opportunities to score, only to be denied by the desparation of the Australian defence. It was a very relieved, and excited AIS team that greeted the final whistle.
For the Aussies the two second-rowers Mitchell Aubusson and Marty Lewis played themselves to an absolute standstill, with prop Dave Taylor again outstanding. In the backs Joel Moon, playing five-eight was solid, and Zac Russ at fullback turned in another eyecatching perfomance.
The stage has now been set for a tremendous final game of the tour, the seocnd test at St.Helens next Wednesday night.

AIS Team: 1.Zac Russ, 2.Steve Beaumont, 3.Alex Tallon, 4.Israel Filau, 5.Daniel Greaves, 6.Joel Moon, 7.Brady Payne, 8.Dave Taylor, 9.Harry Witt, 10.Nick Colley, 11.Marty Lewis, 12.Mitchell Aubusson, 13.Simona Vavega, 14.Matt Smith, 15.Nathan Strudwick, 16.Alex Switzer, 17.Jay Aston

AIS 28 (Alex Tallon 2, Mitchell Aubusson 2, Brady Payne tries; Tallon 4/6 goals)
def English Academy 26 (#4 2, #2 2, #7 tries; #4 3/5 goals) (HT: English Academy 14-4) Men of the Match: Brady Payne (AIS); Steven Tyrer (English Academy)
Minute by minute:
5th min: Eng#4 try; EA 4-0
10th min: Eng#4 try/conv; EA 10-0
18th min: A.Tallon try; EA 10-4
24th min: Eng#2 try; EA 14-4
37th min: B.Payne try/A.Tallon conv; EA 14-10
40th min: M.Aubusson try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 16-14
42nd min: M.Aubusson try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 22-14
49th min: A.Tallon try/conv; AIS 28-14
56th min: Eng #2 try/#4 conv; AIS 28-20
61at min: Eng #7 try/#4 conv; AIS 28-20
Next Game; v England U17; St.Helens Wed 30/11/05 7pm.

AIS MAKES IT 3/3 IN AMAZING CONDITIONS: The AIS scored their third win of the tour with a 26-8 win over the BARLA (British Amateur Rugby League Association ) U18 side in near-zero visibility at Rochedale. Unfortunately I cannot give many details on the game, as with visibility in the order of 30-40 metres, there was large periods of play which was visible only to the players, and, I assume, the referee! All other football in the Manchester area in all codes was called off, but after the team bus crawled the 15km from Manchester to Rochdale in an hour-and-a-half it was decided that the game should proceed in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, including a very good local school band! Fortunately the field was in perfect condition and the dry conditions of the past week meant it was surprisingly firm for England.
The players took a little while adapting to the conditions, and there was a lot of dropped ball in the first 10 minutes, however once the players became accustomed to the poor visibility the game settled down into a tough struggle. The BARLA team had a couple of opprotunities early and were over the line on three occasions only to be ruled in touch, or dropping the ball. In fact it was eventually the Australians who scored first with Alex Tallon beating his opposition centre to dash over from 25 metres out. His conversion and a subsequent try to interchange halfback Robert Jones right on half-time, which Tallon again converted saw the AIS with a 12-0 lead at the break, a score which somewhat flattered the visitors.
The Australian started well in the second half, and it was Tallon again beating his opposite number to score wide-out. His conversion attempt was straight but just fell under the bar breaking his run of 14 successful kicks on this tour. BARLA struck back shortly after with a try from a kick through to bring the score back within 12, but it was Tallon again who again scored wide out to re-establish a 16 point break. BARLA's right centre and man-of-match scored a great try to again make it a 12 point ball game, however right on fulltime the Australians scored the try of the tour to date with an amazing run by Dave Taylor saw him smash his way through in his own half, and storm down the field to ten metres out where he threw a "miracle ball" that Alex Tallon snatched out of the air in the murk and dived in beside the post for his fourth try of the evening.
Tallon received the official man-of-the-match award but it was big Dave Taylor who the BARLA side just could not handle, and he must have made over 200m on the night, breaing tackles everywhere.
All the forwards again played well, and stand-in captain and halfback Matt Smith did a great job in an unfamiliar role. Nathan Strudwick was also prominent in his first match back from sickness. Next game is the first Test against England U17 at Castleford on Friday night.
AIS Team: 1.Steve Beaumont, 2.Pat Norton, 3.Alex Tallon, 4.Daniel Greaves, 5.Mitch Griffiths, 6.Andrew Bell, 7.Matt Smith (c), 8.Pat McPherson, 9.Nathan Strudwick, 10.Alex Switzer, 11.Zac Paczkowski, 12.Nathan Beckett, 13.Nick Colley, 14.Robert Jones, 15.Joel Moon, 16.Dave Taylor, 17.Zac Russ
AIS 26 (Alex Tallon 4, Robert Jones tries; Tallon 3/5 goals)
def BARLA U18 8 (#2, #3 tries; #2 0/2 goals) (HT: AIS 12-0)
Man of the Match: Alex Tallon (AIS)
Minute by minute:
25th min: A.Tallon try/conc; AIS 6-0
34th min: R.Jones try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 12-0
42nd min: A.Tallon try; AIS 16-0
47th min: BARLA #2 try; AIS 16-4
57th min: A.Tallon try; AIS 20-4
60th min: BARLA #3 try; AIS 20-8
67th min: A.Tallon try/conv; AIS 26-8
Next Game; v England U17; Castleford Fri 25/11/05 7pm.

AIS SCORE SECOND WIN: The AIS scored their second win in France with a 42-8 win over France U19 in the French town of Villeneuve-sur-lot, The game was played in cold conditions, with a little light drizzle occasionally dampening the field. The French side started well and led 2-0 early, but a great  try by eventual Man-of-the Match Marty Lewis saw the Australians take the lead for the first time in the 22nd minute.Interchange forward Jay Aston followed up with a fine individual effort 5 minutes later and when Joel Moon crossed 3 minutes before the break, faultless goalkicking by Alex Tallon saw the Aussies lead 18-2. The Australian forwards gradually got on top as the second-half unfolded with props Dave Taylor and Simona Vavega prominent. Injuries to fullback Zac Russ and replacement back Israel Filau late in the first half saw a backline reshuffle with Joel Moon moving to the centres and Steve Beaumont to fullback and ALex Tallon to the wing for the second stanza.
After a spirited opening to the second half by the French, the Australian's fitness came to the fore, and with the forwards paving the way, halves Brady Payne and Matt Smith had more room to move and exploited some week defence down the left side to pile on the points, with centre Daniel Greaves and winger Mitch Griffiths making a number of breaks, four of which led to tries. To the French side's credit they persevered to the end, being rewarded with a late try to their nippy halfback, resulting in the final score of 42-8.
AIS TEAM: 1.Zac Russ, 2.Steven Beaumont, 3.Alex Tallon, 4.Daniel Greaves, 5.Mitch Griffiths, 6.Matt Smith, 7.Brady Payne (c), 8.Dave Taylor, 9.Harry Witt, 10.Nick Colley, 11.Marty Lewis, 12.Mitchell Aubusson, 13.Joel Moon, 14.Jay Aston, 15.Simona Vavega, 16.Israel Filau, 17.Nathan Beckett
AIS 42 (Joel Moon 2, Marty Lewis, Jay Aston, Steve Beaumont, Daniel Greaves, Mitch Griffiths tries; AlexTallon 7/7 goals)
def France U19 4 (7. try; 6. 0/1, 3. 2/2 goals) (HT: AIS 18-2)
Man of the Match: Marty Lewis (AIS)
Minute by minute:
7th min: France #3 pen; Fr19 2-0
22nd min: M.Lewisi try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 6-2
27th min: J.Aston try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 12-2
31st min: J.Moon try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 18-2
FIRST HALF STATS: Pens: Fr19 7-2; Scrums: AIS 5-4; Comp: AIS 12/18; Fr19 10/19
50th min: S.Beaumont try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 24-2
56th min: D.Greaves try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 30-2
60th min: M.Griffiths try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 36-2
64th min: J.Moon try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 42-2
69th min: France#7 try/#3 conv; AIS 42-8
SECOND HALF STATS: Pens: Fr19 8-1; Scrums: Fr19 4-3 Comp: AIS 6/16; Fr19 14/19
TOTAL STATS: Pens: Fr19 15-3; Scrums: 8-8; Completions: AIS 18/34; France 24/38

AIS OPEN TOUR WITH WIN: Alex Tallon from Sprana bagged 18 points from 2 tries and 5/5 conversions but the youngest player on the tour Israel Filau (from Centenary) was the star as the AIS Team opened their European tour with a hard fought 30-4 win over a determined French side in Toulouse. Despite the consistent rain, the ground was in very good condition, with only the odd dropped ball a signal that the wet conditions affected play. It was a very tough match physically with both forward packs really tearing into each other. Starting Props Pat McPherson and Alex Switzer, hooker and captain Harry Witt, along with interchange prop Simona Vavega all had tremendous games, as did backrowers Zac Paczkowski. In the backs, halves Andrew Bell and Robert Jones led the team around the park well, with Brady Payne being dangereous in the second half. The three-quarters shared centre and wing responsibilities with Mitch Griffiths getting through plenty of work.
The AIS opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with Jay Aston putting Zac Paczkowski through a gap close to the line. Their lead was extended to 12-0 only 5 minutes later when an offload from Alex Switzer, and a great flick on from Nathan Beckett saw Alex Tallon break through, standing up the fullback to score. France steadied from this point, the only other try the AIS could manage in the first stanza was three minutes before the break when Israel swooped onto a kick from the French, and ran 50 metres before putting interchange second-rower Mitchell Aubusson over. Within 10 minutes of the second half commencing AIS had extended their lead to 30-0, with first a great ball from Andrew Bell putting Tallon in for his second try and Brady Payne scoring an individual try from a neat chip kick. Tallon knocked over the conversion to keep his 100% record for the night. To the French's credit they never gave in and were rewarded with a try to their fullback from a kick through in the last minute of play.
All other players in the touring party, with the exception of Nathan Strudwick, who has come down with a stomach bug, will get their opportunity against the French U19 team in Villeneuve-sur-lot on Wednesday evening French time, before the team moves to the north of England for 3 more games.
AIS Team:
1.Patrick Norton; 2.Mitch Griffiths; 3.Alex Tallon; 4.Israel Filau; 5.Daniel Grieves; 6.Andrew Bell; 7.Robert Jones; 8.Pat McPherson; 9.Harry Witt(c); 10.Alex Switzer; 11.Zac Paczkowski; 12.Nathan Beckett; 13.Jay Aston; 14.Brady Payne; 15.Simona Vavega; 16.Mitchell Aubusson; 17.Zac Russ.
AIS 30 (Alex Tallon 2, Zac Paczowski, Mitchell Aubusson, Brady Payne tries; Tallon 5/5 goals) def France U18 4 (1. try; 6. 0/1, 1. 0/1 goals) (HT: AIS 18-0)
Man of the Match; Israel Filau (AIS)
Minute by minute:
3rd min: Z.Paczowski try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 6-0
8th min: A.Tallon try/conv; AIS 12-0
27th min: M.Aubusson try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 18-0
FIRST HALF STATS: Pens: 4-4; Scrums: AIS 5-2; Completions: AIS 9/16; France 8/15
35th min: A.Tallon try/conv; AIS 24-0
40th min: B.Payne try/A.Tallon conv; AIS 30-0
60th min: France#1 try; AIS 30-4
SECOND HALF STATS: Pens: France 4-3; Scrums: France 5-4 Completions: AIS 11/13; France 9/17
TOTAL STATS: Pens: France 8-7; Scrums: AIS 9-7; Completions: AIS 20/29; France 17/32

AIS PLAYERS PREPARE TO LEAVE: The AIS U17 Rugby League Touring Team will be heading off to France and England on Thurs Nov 10 for a 3 week, 5 game tour. The team is made up from players from Qld and NSW Country and has a number of players from the Brisbane U17 comp. Unfortunately Daniel Isaac's broken thumb has failed to heal sufficiently in time for him to tour, and his place has been taken by Alex Tallon. All the best to the players on the team - will try to get some game summaries on this site. Schedule:
Mon Nov 14: v French U18 at Toulouse
Wed Nov 16: v French U19 at Villeneuve (tbc)
Mon Nov 21: v BARLA at Rochdale
Fri Nov 25: v England U17 at Castleford
Wed Nov 30: v England U17 at St.Helens