The Australia vs Ireland International series recommences next weekend in Perth at Patersons Stadium. Perth has always supported the concept and enjoyed a party-like atmosphere. Hours before bouncedown thousands of people have found their way to Subiaco dressed in national colours and adorned with icons and flags making the game a truly international event comparable to a World Cup clash. This year WAFC have taken this support and expanded upon it.
Steve Tuohey from the WAFC explains. "Patersons Stadium will host an Irish Festival showcasing the sights, sounds and tastes of Ireland to coincide with the AFL’s International Rules Series game against Ireland on Saturday, November 22."
Paterson's Oval on the 22nd November sees the return of competition between Australia and Ireland in the hybrid game. The codes have chosen cautiously to entertain just the one game this time around.
Australia has chosen to breathe new life into the series by returning to an all-stars concept with eligibility given to only All-Australian players and the AFL have chosen Perth as host city undoubtedly because of it's previous solid support of the concept. That support should ensure a sellout as tickets are presently at the 30,000 mark and people are keen to see so many footballing stars together.
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans tonight announced Geelong Cats coach Chris Scott would join the coaching panel under Alastair Clarkson for the 2014 Virgin Australia International Rules Series.
Scott, who led the Cats to the 2011 premiership and boasts a career winning percentage of 76 per cent with 69 wins from 90 matches in charge of Geelong, will join Fremantle coach Ross Lyon as one of Clarkson’s two senior assistants.
Evans said he was delighted Scott had accepted the invitation to be part of the Australian coaching structure, as the AFL was determined to gather the best possible resources around the playing group in a bid to regain the Cormac McAnallen trophy.
The Wolverhampton Wolverines have used their off-season time wisely. Rather than wait for the season proper to start, Ian Mitchell, club president and coach, has been exploring a variety of ways to not only keep his team fit and ready, but also grow the game throughout the Wolverhampton districts and beyond.
Last weekend saw the inaugural International Rules game in Wolverhampton, England. It is a game that had been in the pipeline between the Wolverines and St Mary's GAA Wolverhampton for two or three years, but various obstacles had prevented it from taking place until now.
When the International Rules (or compromise rules) format was first put together as a way for Aussie rules footballers to tour Ireland and play a competitive brand of football where both the Australians and Irish could represent their countries, they probably never considered that this new version of the game would be played elsewhere. It has however become a patch of common ground for Aussie rules and Gaelic football clubs far from their native shores to link up. Thanks to the President of the Nova Scotia AFL, Jonah Scott for the following report.
International Rules Football was introduced to Nova Scotia during the month of October as the Halifax Dockers and the Halifax Gaelic Football Club played off against each other in the inaugural 2013 Nova Scotia International Rules Football Series. Like the series being held in Ireland this month, the 2013 Nova Scotia IRF Series also consisted of a battle between a team of Gaelic Footballers, mostly of Irish decent, and one of Australian Rules Footballers, half of which were Aussies.
The Australian team today defeated the combined Dublin colleges team at Parnell Park in Dublin. The final scoreline 62-23 not nearly as important to the Australians as the chance for a competitive hit out. Their opponents finding the going much tougher than last week when they played against the VAFA side.
In the cold conditions the Aussies were off to a slow start with the quarter time score Australia 23 - Dublin Combined Universities 11 but soon found their feet and showing their pace, and superior tackling managed to shut down the students and force numerous turnovers.
Ash McGrath looked comfortable as keeper and looks certain to have the job on Saturday night in Cavan.
North Melbourne star Daniel Wells has been named captain of the Australian team to play Ireland on Saturday. Aaron Davey, who has retired from AFL football after ten seasons at the Melbourne football club has been named vice captain.
Coach Michael O’Loughlin said that Wells and Davey were high quality individuals who were the perfect role models for their teammates for this historic competition.
“Daniel and Aaron are both highly regarded by their peers and have impressed everyone with their natural leadership and mentoring skills during the lead-up to the International Rules Tests,” O’Loughlin said.
At the Australian team’s training session in Melbourne on Friday three players separated off from the rest for some goalkeeping practice. With assistant coach Jason Mifsud and Melbourne Victory’s goalkeeping coach Steve Mautone giving instructions on positioning and tactics Ash McGrath, Nathan Lovett-Murray and Cameron Ellis-Yolmen.