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Aussies name youthful squad

09 October 2008
Australia manager Mick Malthouse has picked an inexperienced 25-man squad for the forthcoming International Rules series against Ireland.

Only six of the squad have played the game before and Malthouse has also selected a number of smaller and pacy players as he intends to concentrate on a running game.

Malthouse admits that the future of the series hangs in the balance due to the violence that marred that the last two series, but that did not mean Australia would shy away from seeking to exploit their physical edge against Irish players not accustomed to hard tackles.

"The coaches, the player group, will be very much aware of the fact that for this series to continue (it depends on) the way we conduct ourselves," he said.

"And also the Irish, let’s not forget it takes two to tango and there’s going to be two sides out there.

"We haven’t gone out of our way not to pick aggressive players. There are rules in place that state that you can tackle and you can bump when the opportunity arises, but you’ve still got to run hard at the football.

"What you don’t want to do is be compromised in the mind, thinking we’ve got to tread very lightly, in fact you’ve still got to have a massive assault on the ball."

Malthouse said he could not ask players brought up on a highly physical game to suddenly rein in their aggressive instincts, although he said a reputation for sportsmanship had been a factor in the selection process.

"From five years of age when they’ve learned to kick it, they’ve learned to take a tackle and learned to lay a bump and learned how to go and get the football," he said.

"So that’s not going to change overnight, we don’t want that to change.

"But ... one of the reasons why I’ve taken the job on, I believe that we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that this series is continued because we’ve played in the right spirit and we’ve conducted ourselves in the right manner and we’ve played to win."

Australia squad: N Bock (Adelaide), M Boyd (Western Bulldogs), J Brennan (Brisbane), C Brown (Hawthorn), S Burgoyne (Port Adelaide), M Campbell (North Melbourne), R Crowley (Fremantle), M Firrito (North Melbourne), N Foley (Richmond), B Harvey (North Melbourne), R Hayden (Fremantle), L Montagna (St Kilda), D Motlop (Port Adelaide), M Murphy (Carlton), M Osborne (Hawthorn), S Pendlebury (Collingwood), D Petrie (North Melbourne), D Rodan (Port Adelaide), M Rooke (Geelong), B Sewell (Hawthorn), K Simpson (Carlton), A Selwood (West Coast), D Thomas (Collingwood), S Thompson (Adelaide), D Wells (North Melbourne).