Hodge to lead Australia
Saturday, November 14 2015 @ 12:00 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The AFL today announced Hawthorn's triple-premiership skipper Luke Hodge would be captain of the Virgin Australia International Rules team to contest the one-off Test against Ireland, to be played at Croke Park in Dublin next Saturday November 21.
The Australian team coaching group of Alastair Clarkson, Ross Lyon and Chris Scott nominated Hodge to be captain from the leadership group comprising Robert Murphy, Nick Riewoldt, Harry Taylor and Sam Mitchell at a team function in New York on Friday evening November 13 (Saturday November 14 Australian time).
The 22-man squad was presented with their guernseys at a function at News Corp world headquarters in New York, hosted by Global CEO Robert Thomson and attended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who handed over their match-day jumpers.
Hodge said he was shocked to be named as skipper but honoured to be leading such a powerful squad comprised entirely of All Australian players.
"It's a great honour and I'm lost for words as I thought either Bob Murphy or Nick Riewoldt would be leading us as great players that I admire," Hodge said.
"Ireland will be a tough proposition but we are absolutely heading to Dublin with victory as our goal."
Hodge won the Jim Stynes Medal as Australia's best player in last year's win in Perth and also was a key player when he previously played IRS in 2005.
Australia regained the Cormac Macanallen Trophy with victory in last November's Test on home soil in Perth and has again named a squad comprised entirely of All Australian players.
The 2015 Virgin Australia International Rules squad is: Hayden Ballantyne (Fremantle), Eddie Betts (Adelaide Crows), Grant Birchall (Hawthorn), Luke Bruest (Hawthorn), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats), Dustin Fletcher (Essendon), Andrew Gaff (West Coast), Brendon Goddard (Essendon), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Dyson Heppell (Essendon), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn), Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn), Leigh Montagna (St Kilda), David Mundy (Fremantle), Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs), Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda), Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions), Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn), Nick Smith (Sydney Swans), Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs), Harry Taylor (Geelong Cats), Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs).
The Ireland v Australia International Rules Test will be telecast around Australia by the Seven Network.