1888 Carlton vs England

On 16 June, 1888 the first international Australian football match was played at the MCG in front of 29,355 excited fans. To capitalise on the codes of football played in each colony, the touring Englishmen, mostly rugby union players from northern England, agreed to play rugby in New South Wales (and New Zealand), and Australian football in Victoria and South Australia.

Immaculately attired in red, white and blue, the Englishmen made a great impression. But they preferred not to mark the ball and Carlton, the reigning VFL premiers, won easily, 14.17 (101) to England 2.7 (19).

The tour had been initiated by the enthusiastic Henry Harrison, who, on a visit to England four years previously with the 1884 Australian cricket team, attempted to stir up interest in what he considered 'the universal game'.

The Englishmen played a total of 25 games of Australian football, winning 14 and losing 11.

"At the end of the tour it was decided to send a team to England for return matches. However, the VFA decided that the move was too big for immediate confirmation and postponed final arrangements. Those arrangements were never finalized and football lost its greatest ever chance of becoming international. The English were impressed with the game, played it extremely well and were keen to take its cause to the home of the Empire. Unfortunately, they got precious little help from the men who claimed to be developing the game." (Australian Rules Football, An Illustrated History)

Information cited from here.

A full recreation of an article relating to this event is provided here.

Season 1888 | Exhibition Games
Contributors to this page: molsey and Jarusa .
Page last modified on Wednesday 21 of January, 2009 21:25:57 AEDT by molsey.

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