International rules set for Perth
International rules set for Perth

Perth will stage yet another new concept for the international rules series against Ireland with a match to be played at Patersons Stadium on November 22.

Under guidelines set down by the AFL, only players who have gained All-Australian selection during their careers will be eligible for the series against the Gaelic Athletic Association's best.

The Australian team will be coached by current All Australian and Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.

The AFL and GAA also confirmed that discussions were well-advanced around modifications to the IRS rules to allow for a broader range of AFL player types to be able to compete successfully.

AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said the league remained committed to the international rules concept and was keen to revitalise interest in the series by ensuring it involved the best AFL players available, competing under rules that suited all players.

“Australian and Irish fans want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers,” Evans said.

Evans said the AFL acknowledged previous difficulties in fielding the best Australian side due to the timing of the Series and the unavailability of many of the competition’s most talented and exciting players.

“Ireland’s players have proved extremely keen and competitive in recent times and so we simply cannot afford to put forward anyone less than the AFL’s best players," he said.

“By limiting selection to All Australian players, by scheduling the Test later in the year at the end of most players’ leave, and by amending the rules we believe we will field a strong and competitive Australian side that will re-establish the event’s standing in the eyes of fans."

Mr Evans said the AFL was confident of attracting a big crowd to Patersons Stadium as well as a strong television audience to see the competition’s best known players line up together to win back the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after Ireland’s domination of the past two series.

President of the GAA, Mr Liam O’Neill said the one sided nature of recent series had negatively affected attendances and general public interest, but that a date in late November would assist enormously with player availability.

“With the best players from each country going head to head, I’m confident the sporting public will react positively,” O’Neill said.

He said Ireland would be seeking to play a warm-up game in Australia ahead of the Test game and that Paul Earley will again be in charge of the Irish Team, with his backroom team including Tony Scullion (Derry), Seamus McCarthy (Tipperary), Jarlath Fallon (Galway) and Nicholas Walsh (Cavan/GWS Giants).

The West Australian

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