Australia without key man for IRS

November 07, 2017

Australia talisman Gary Ablett has withdrawn from this year's International Rules series for personal reasons.

Ablett's sister, Natasha, died suddenly just days after he had been named in Chris Scott's provisional squad last month and the 33-year-old Aussie Rules legend subsequently transferred from Gold Coast Suns back to Geelong Cats (where he will link up with Irish exports Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor) so that he could be closer to his heartborken family.

Twice a Brownlow medallist [Footballer of the Year] and an eight-times All-Australian [All Star] winner, Ablett is widely regarded as one of the AFL's greatest-ever players.

He was set to make his International Rules debut at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday but the AFL have confirmed that their most-decorated player has pulled out. Due to the late nature of his withdrawal, Australia will not be drafting in a replacement for Ablett and will instead go into the two-Test series with 21 players.

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