Fletcher earns Aussie call-up
Dustin Fletcher will front up again as goalkeeper for Australia in the International Rules game at Patersons Stadium in November. Pic: AFL Images

Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher's remarkable career keeps going - he has been picked again in the International Rules squad to play Ireland in November as the goalkeeper.

Fletcher is yet to decide whether to play on next season and become the third man to reach 400 AFL games. He is likely to finish the season with less than a handful of games required to join Michael Tuck and Kevin Bartlett in the elite 400 club.

The 39-year-old has represented Australia in three International Rules series and stunned the Irish with his ability to stop goals. Many Gaelic football experts have claimed he could make a career as a goalkeeper in their sport.

Australian chef de mission Eddie McGuire said Fletcher was an amazing story.

"The position that is the most awkward for the Australians is the goalkeeping position," McGuire told _The West Australian _.

"Over the years, Dustin has been fantastic. So to get him in there as someone who actually knows how to play the role and continues to be an icon player of the AFL is a wonderful boost for the squad.

"I'm not sure what he's going to do at the Bombers and if he's going to come back next year, but if it was his last game ever, after such an amazing career, it would be icing on the cake."

The match between Australia and Ireland will be played at Patersons Stadium on November 22.

Players must have been chosen in an All-Australian team at some point of their career to be eligible for selection.

Scott Pendlebury, Joel Selwood, Luke Hodge and Patrick Dangerfield committed to the match last month.

Now Fletcher has joined Nick Riewoldt, Travis Boak, Harry Taylor, Kieren Jack and Brent Harvey in the squad.

With Fremantle coach Ross Lyon and Geelong mentor Chris Scott working as assistants beside Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, the team is filled with stars.

Six of the 10 who have been chosen are current AFL captains and Harvey is a former North Melbourne captain.

"They're the best players, they're the best leaders, they're the best captains, they've got everything going for them," McGuire said.

"This is a team that is commensurate with the honour of wearing the Australian colours.

"This is a genuine blockbuster. The best of the best, taking on the best of Ireland."

With many of this year's All-Australian team set to join the 10 players already named, there are likely to be Fremantle and West Coast players selected soon.

McGuire said the one-off Test in Perth gave WA football fans the chance to turn the match into their own event.

"This is an opportunity for Perth to grab hold of this major event and make the game its own," McGuire said.

"There's a huge Irish population over in Perth and through all the mines. If we continue to build this and it works this time and we fill it, Perth should have first dibs on it."

They're the best players, they're the best leaders ..." *Eddie McGuire *

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West