The AFL has announced the Australian squad for the two-test Virgin Australia International Rules Series to be played against Ireland in November.
Australia will host Ireland at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday 12th November and then at Domain Stadium on Saturday 18th November.
The Australian coaching panel, headed by Chris Scott, and assisted by Ross Lyon and Brad Scott, has finalised the core of its line-up after confirming available All Australian players.
Nine of the players named have no previous International Rules Series experience, while five players chosen have previously played in one series. The experience in their squad comes in the form of Eddie Betts who played International Rules in both 2010 and 2015, while Patrick Dangerfield and Brendon Goddard represented their country in three series each: Dangerfield in 2010, 2014 and 2015, and Goddard in 2006, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Joel Selwood of Geelong Cats, who was part of the 2014 series, has been named as captain.
The Australian squad is:
Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns), Eddie Betts (Adelaide Crows), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats), Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle), Brendon Goddard (Essendon), Toby Greene (GWS Giants), Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), Rory Laird (Adelaide Crows), Zac Merrett (Essendon), Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), Joel Selwood (Geelong Cats), Rory Sloane (Adelaide Crows), Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions).
Australian Head Coach Scott said the selection panel had sought to combine those players that had previously represented Australia, and understood the requirements of the game, alongside those debutants who had produced outstanding seasons in 2017 as All Australian players and dominated the AFL competition.
“As selectors, we needed to balance the team with players who have represented Australia before, and understand the game and how it is played against Ireland, and also look to the next generation of elite players who deserve the opportunity to represent us on an international stage.
“All Australian selection at some point in a player’s career was a pre-requisite for consideration, as we also believe that the best players want to learn from each other and provide an environment where they can be better again when they return to their clubs,” Scott said.
Last month, Ireland team manager, Joe Kernan, announced that three Irishmen playing in the AFL, namely Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast), Conor McKenna (Essendon) and Zach Tuohy (Geelong), would be among his final squad of 23 players.
Ireland currently holds the Cormac McAnnellen Trophy following the team’s success in the one-off Test at Croke Park in 2015.