Mick Malthouse has achieved legendary status in the AFL but this will be his first stab at the representative code. He will be pitting his wits against another veteran in Sean Boylan who will lead the Irish side for the
However, Nathan Buckley, Glen Jakovich and Matthew Lappin have all featured as players in past Rules series and Malthouse said that was the key factor in appointing the trio as his assistants.
“I’m a bloke who hasn’t played it, hasn’t coached it. You’ve got to get the best deputies you possibly can,” Malthouse said. “The three people we’ve chosen have all played.”
Buckley, a former Australian captain, and Jakovich are both media pundits. Lappin has represented his country four times in the compromise game and is now an assistant coach at Carlton. Buckley played under Malthouse at club level and had little hesitation in accepting his former coach’s invitation to be part of the resurrected series, which kicks off in Perth on October 24.
“It’s a great experience, it’s something that I jumped at as soon as I was asked by Mick. When I was growing up as a kid I didn’t think I’d ever have that chance to wear the Australian guernsey, so I’m a big fan of the concept.”
Lappin was equally effusive about his new role. “As a player it was an outstanding opportunity to represent your country,” Lappin said. “Any player who does get the opportunity will be jumping at it … the only chance you get to represent your country is with this hybrid game.”
Malthouse has already indicated he would strive to ensure that there is no repeat of the violent scenes in 2005 and 2006 which caused the postponement of the series last year and threatened the entire concept.
However, he has also promised that his own team will not “back off” while adding that he will be looking primarily at choosing players who have already proven their abilities in the joint code.
“If the Irish think it’s going to be a soft option we take and back off from being a physical side, then they’re wrong,” Malthouse said. “There are rules which state you can do things and we will try and stay on that line within the rules.
“For the selection we are looking at players with a discipline about them that will respect the series, respect the jumper they are wearing and respect the opposition.”