Australians select team for Rules opener

Australia have put an International Rules debutant in goal for tomorrow's first Test against Sean Boylan's Ireland side in Perth.

Adelaide's All-Australian centre half-back Nathan Bock will go between the posts for the home side, after impressing coach Mick Malthouse in training.

The Cormac McAnallen Cup holders tried out four players as possible goalkeepers with Bock being preferred to Michael Firrito, Drew Petrie and Jared Brennan.

Malthouse said: "Nathan is agile, he knows the game, he's willing, brave and no doubt they'll test him out.

"It's a strange position that's probably the only one on the ground thatis totally different to anything we see in AFL (Australian Football League)."

Malthouse's squad includes just six players who has tasted International Rules action in previous years - team captain Brent Harvey, Campbell Brown, Ryan Crowley, Adam Selwood, Kade Simpson and Daniel Wells.

Harvey, at 30, is the oldest member of the panel.

An All-Australian for the fourth time, he lines out for the North Melbourne Kangaroos and has played in four previous Test series against Ireland (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005).

Harvey won the Jim Stynes Medal for best player in the 2003 Tests.

Malthouse believes that he has picked a 'side to win, an exciting young side and one which celebrate football's involvement in Australia over 150 years.'

"We've picked it because this will be the climax of going out there, not win at all costs, but certainly win within the rules," he explained.

The Australians are expecting big things from pacy half-forward David Rodan, who looked comfortable with the round ball during Monday's practice match.

They will start with a young and athletic attack which includes former basketball player Scott Pendlebury.

For tomorrow's opener at the Subiaco Oval, which will get underway at 11.30am Irish time, Ireland captain Sean Cavanagh is confident that the visitors have got their preparation right.

"The work we've done back in Ireland, particularly with the tackling, has been massive and in previous years we have not known how to give or take a tackle, but we are a lot better prepared this time around," said the Tyrone star.

"No stone has been left uncovered in our preparation for this series and I'm confident in saying that we are the best prepared Irish team that I have been involved with."

AUSTRALIA: Nathan Bock; Michael Firrito, Brad Sewell, Campbell Brown; Ryan Crowley, Drew Petrie, Adam Selwood; Brent Harvey (capt), Scott Thompson; Scott Pendlebury, Daniel Motlop, David Rodan; Michael Osborne, Shaun Burgoyne, Matt Campbell.

Interchange players (one to be omitted): Matthew Boyd, Jared Brennan, Nathan Foley, Roger Hayden, Leigh Montagna, Marc Murphy, Max Rooke, Kade Simpson, Dale Thomas, Daniel Wells.


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