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, lets not forget it takes two to tango and theres going to be two sides out there.
"We havent 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 youve still got to run hard at the football.
"What you dont want to do is be compromised in the mind, thinking weve got to tread very lightly, in fact youve 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 theyve learned to kick it, theyve learned to take a tackle and learned to lay a bump and learned how to go and get the football," he said.
"So thats not going to change overnight, we dont want that to change.
"But ... one of the reasons why Ive taken the job on, I believe that we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that this series is continued because weve played in the right spirit and weve conducted ourselves in the right manner and weve 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).