We take a look at Sunday’s International Rules clash between the Australia and Ireland. The unique game will be played at Adelaide Oval with many of the AFL’s biggest names making themselves available to play. Australia will go in as favourites but with the format played irregularly this could go either way.
When: 16:10 | Sunday 12/11/2017
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IRS goalkeeper Goddard to learn new tricks
It’s a case of mixing old and new for Essendon veteran Brendon Goddard as Australia prepare to take on Ireland for the latest two-Test International Rules Series rebirth.
As the AFL’s Melbourne-based representatives departed on Thursday, the 32-year-old revealed he’s packed his “goalie gloves” after confirming news of his selection between-the-sticks.
The IRS round-ball series itself is old-hat for Goddard but his new role is completely uncharted territory, he says.
“It’s something a little bit foreign,” the four-time Australian squad member told reporters.
Figuratively, the gloves have been passed on by another Essendon great, Dustin Fletcher, who wore them for more than a decade.
Despite the two having touched base, Goddard said no amount of advice from his former teammate could compensate for his ready-made keeper physique.
“Fletch being the No.1 goalie … I don’t quite have the Gadget-like reach (he) had,” Goddard said.
Melbourne Victory CEO Ian Robson, a former Essendon executive, has also offered to put the newbie shot-stopper in touch with the A-League club’s goalkeeping coach.
Goddard, the second-oldest squad member behind Shaun Burgoyne, believes selectors have struck a “good mix of youth and experience” but admits two-time Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett’s omission is a blow.
The Irish have been training for weeks, while the Australians will have their first session on Thursday afternoon in Sydney before travelling south for Saturday’s opener at Adelaide Oval.
Ireland’s Gaelic football background will give the tourists a distinct skill advantage but Australia would attempt to make it an “arm wrestle” without overstepping the mark, Goddard said.
“The old days of the biff and brawling has kind of finished,” he added.
“But it does get quite heated – we’re all competitive at the end of the day and the Irish are very good at niggling.”
Australia are looking to reclaim the Cormac McAnnallen Trophy, with Ireland holding the title since their one-off Test victory at Dublin’s Croke Park in 2015.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change