Michael to guard against Irish 'whippet' attack

Brisbane Lions full-back Mal Michael is set to don Australia's goalkeeper jersey next week at Croke Park, in what will be the 27-year-old's first taste of International Rules.

Brisbane Lions full-back Mal Michael is set to don Australia's goalkeeper jersey next week at Croke Park, in what will be the 27-year-old's first taste of International Rules.

The Papua New Guinea-born star will be banking on a limited knowledge of the net-minding world, having played indoor soccer for the past two seasons.

"Our soccer team made the grand final last season, but our 'keeper didn't show up," said the AFL Premiership defender.

"I had to go in goals and I conceded about four in the first half.

"I ended up being dragged off and watched the second half from the bench!"

Michael, while confident under the high ball in all 25 of the Lions' 2004 games, is wary of the fleet-footed Irish attack, likely to include Armagh's All-Star sharpshooter Steven McDonnell, fit-again skipper Padraig Joyce and Wexford's Matty Forde who struck 3-38 in five Championship matches last summer.

"I have seen some of the footage from previous years and they run like whippets. I don't think I will be able to catch them. They don't seem that tall, but they are lightning-quick."

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