The Australian International Rules team take on the Irish this weekend in Perth.
Earlier in the week the star-studded new Australian team had its first trial match against NSW where the new hybrid concept was introduced. The new rules seem to draw on both AFL and Gaelic Football and use a round ball.
Speaking to the media afterward, new recruit Chad Wingard said he thinks the Australians will struggle with the new ball. Traditionally the normal AFL ball has been used; this ball should heavily favour the Irish. In other aspects of the game, Wingard said, Australia had the upper hand when it came to aggression and tackling and hoped to overpower the Irish.
The team has been criticised in the past for being too aggressive but the blend of codes and athleticism offers viewers a fast, action-packed match.
Joel Selwood was announced as Australian captain this week. Asked how he will control such a big-name team he answered: “Look, they’re all a good bunch of players and hopefully the coach will help me in the speech before the game.”
Sydney Swans player Kieren Jack was delighted to be named in the squad. Was he upset at not being named captain? “No, not at all actually,” he told the assembled media. “It’s not every day you get selected in the Australian team.”
The game starts at 5:45pm AWST on Saturday (8:45pm for NSW and Victoria). – Ashley Kearney
Top photo from Jimmy Harris’s Flickr photostream.