No International Rules biff for Aussies

Australia says there will be no repeat of the bloodshed and violence which have marred past International Rules series, but have promised to be hard but fair when they take on Ireland on Saturday.


Previous matches have been tarnished by ugly brawls and at one point the level of brutality threatened the future of the hybrid game.

The 2007 series was scrapped as a reaction to a number of violent on-field incidents as the amateur Irish players were regularly being out-muscled by their fulltime, professional opponents.

In game one of 2006, Ireland’s Graham Geraghty was hospitalised and concussed after a slinging tackle by Australia’s Danyle Pearce.

The fisticuffs began before game two could even get underway, with a brawl breaking out prior to the opening whistle.

The previous year Australian co-captain Chris Johnson started an infamous brawl when he clotheslined Philip Jordan and decked another two Irish players during the ensuing melee.

A match at the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium in 2011 descended into farce when six players were sin-binned including five in the one term.

In the third quarter the Australians amazingly racked up more three yellow cards (three) than points scored (one).

Port Adelaide co-captain Travis Boak said the Australians would not be bringing back the biff during the 2014 Test at Perth’s Paterson Stadium but promised to play a hard game.

“Any game you go into, there’s always a few niggles here and there but we’re going out to win the game,” he said.

“We’ll play it hard but fair at the same time. And we’ll have our structures in place and I’m sure they will as well.

“At times it might get a little bit heated, but for us we’re going out there to play. We want to play and win the game.”

The Australian squad assembled in Sydney on Monday for a two-day training camp and will fly to Perth on Tuesday evening.

Sydney Swans captain Jarrad McVeigh said the game’s structures, rules and round ball took some getting used to.

The 24 Australian team members were sent an International Rules ball prior to going into camp to help with the transition.

The Irish defeated a Victorian representative side by 73 points in a practice match on Sunday but were caught holding the ball on several occasions.

The tackling laws of International Rules are more similar to AFL than gaelic football and McVeigh identified defensive pressure as one area the Australians would attempt to wrest control from Ireland.

“It’s a fast game, there’s no throw-ins so it goes back and forth,” McVeigh said.

“To bring that pressure and hardness around the ball, that’s a real area that we can get on top.”