Contributed by: Frederick Shaibani
The 2017 All-Australian squad has been official but secret since August 28th, but the AFL has now revealed the 17-man team that will compete in the International Rules Series (IRS), which will comprise two test matches, one to be held on November 12th at Adelaide Oval, and the second to be played at Domain Stadium in Perth on the 18th.
To say that this year’s Australian side is star-studded would be an understatement. Prior to this year, this group has collected a combined 34 All-Australian honors, 10 AFL premierships, four Brownlow Medals, one Norm Smith Medal, five AFLPA MVP awards, and nine AFL Rising Star nominations. In addition, Eddie Betts, Paddy Ryder, Chad Wingard, and Shaun Burgoyne have made a combined eight appearances with the Indigenous All-Stars.
While many of the faces on the Australian side will be very familiar to the average footy fan, many of them will actually be making their IRS debut, including GWS’s Toby Greene, Fremantle gun Nat Fyfe, two-time Brownlow winner Gary Ablett Jr, and Brisbane disposal machine Dayne Zorko.
Head coach Chris Scott is excited and motivated to get his team ready to reclaim the Cormac McAnallen Trophy, which Ireland took home after a 2015 victory at Dublin’s Croke Park during the last IRS test match. It will be Scott’s first IRS match as a head coach, having taken the reins from Alastair Clarkson earlier this year. Scott’s brother Brad, head coach at North Melbourne, will assist him, as will Fremantle’s Ross Lyon.
“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,” Chris Scott said.
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury is participating in the IRS for the first time since 2008, and he’s sensing a lot of fresh buzz around the league as the Aussies gear up for the first clash against the Irish in two years.
"It's probably moved up another level with having a selection criteria around All Australians,” Pendlebury stated at the press conference.
“It really is the chance to play with the best of the best."
2017 All-Australian IRS Team
● Gary Ablett, Gold Coast Suns*
● Eddie Betts, Adelaide Crows
● Travis Boak, Port Adelaide Power
● Shaun Burgoyne, Hawthorn Hawks
● Patrick Dangerfield, Geelong Cats
● Nathan Fyfe, Fremantle Dockers*
● Brendon Goddard, Essendon Bombers
● Toby Greene, Greater Western Sydney Giants*
● Michael Hibberd, Melbourne Demons*
● Rory Laird, Adelaide Crows*
● Zac Merrett, Essendon Bombers*
● Scott Pendlebury, Collingwood Magpies
● Paddy Ryder, Port Adelaide Power*
● Joel Selwood, Geelong Cats
● Rory Sloane, Adelaide Crows*
● Chad Wingard, Port Adelaide Power
● Dayne Zorko, Brisbane Lions*
World Footy News