Sport AFL All-Australians only: AFL aims to revive Irish series

All-Australians only: AFL aims to revive Irish series

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The AFL has announced a major push to revitalise the ailing international rules concept, with a one-off Test against Ireland announced for November.

Australia will play Ireland on November 22 at Patersons Stadium in Perth and only AFL players who have achieved All-Australian selection will be eligible.

Hawthorn’s reigning premiership coach Alastair Clarkson will head the Australian team and high-profile Collingwood president Eddie McGuire will have the new role as Australian chef de mission.

McGuire’s job will be to spruik the international rules concept, which is struggling for popularity and relevance, and to ensure there is enough prestige surrounding AFL national selection.

An Australian indigenous team toured Ireland late last year and it failed to attract great interest.

The AFL has also canvassed 10 star players, including club captains such as Scott Pendlebury, Nick Riewoldt and Luke Hodge, for their thoughts on the international series.

The AFL and the Irish GAA have moved the date of the series from October to November, when most Australian players are ending their annual leave.

The two bodies are also looking at rule changes so AFL key position players can have more involvement in the game format.

We are determined to restore the prestige and popularity of the international rules series (IRS),” AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said.

The AFL and GAA continue to believe the IRS is an important opportunity for players from both codes to be recognised for their elite talent by receiving the honour of representing their country.