Australians opt for new-look squad

Australian coach Kevin Sheedy has named a speed-laden, new-look squad for the forthcoming International Rules Series with Ireland.

Australian coach Kevin Sheedy has named a speed-laden, new-look squad for the forthcoming International Rules Series with Ireland.

A 26-man Aussie panel was named today for a training camp in Busselton in south Western Australia next Saturday, ahead of Friday week's sold-out first Test at the Subiaco Oval in Perth.

After last year's 50-point aggregate hammering at the hands of Ireland, new Aussie boss Sheedy was given licence by the AFL to pick players who had not made the 2005 All-Australian team - the equivalent of the GAA's All-stars. Thus, only four All-Australians have been included.

Sheedy has opted for a fresh line-up, laden with speed and youth, in a bid to offest Ireland's obvious strength as traditonally the lighter and faster team.

Only seven of the 26 players selected have represented Australia at senior level before - Trent Croad, Matthew Lappin, Nathan Eagleton, Brent Harvey, Chris Johnson, Andrew McLeod and Daniel Wells.

Thankfully for Pete McGrath and his Irish squad, Richmond star Nathan Brown is missing as he continues to recover from a broken leg. Brown excelled in the 2004 Series as Australia's leading scorer, finishing with a two Test tally of 38 points.

Only three of Tadhg Kennelly's Sydney Swan team mates have been given the nod by Sheedy. Amon Buchanan and Nick Davis, who starred in the Swans' run to this year's AFL Premiership title, are in line for their debuts in the Series.

Shaven-headed target man Barry Hall, another Sydney star, is a notable omission. Hall turned in an excellent performance, kicking 16 points against the Irish the last time the Series was staged Down Under in 2003.

AUSTRALIAN SQUAD:

Heath Black (Fremantle), Amon Buchanan (Sydney), Trent Croad (Hawthorn), Aaron Davey (Melbourne), Nick Davis (Sydney), Brett Deledio (Richmond), Nathan Eagleton (Western Bulldogs), Dustin Fletcher (Essendon), Daniel Giansiracusa (Western Bulldogs), Lindsay Gilbee (Western Bulldogs), Shannon Grant (Kangaroos), Brent Harvey (Kangaroos), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn), Chris Johnson (Brisbane Lions), Matthew Lappin (Carlton), Andrew Lovett (Essendon), Andrew McLeod (Adelaide), Troy Makepeace (Kangaroos), Darren Milburn (Geelong), Brent Moloney (Melbourne), Dale Morris (Western Bulldogs), Chris Newman (Richmond), Ryan O'Keefe (Sydney), Russell Robertson (Melbourne), Jarrad Waite (Carlton), Daniel Wells (Kangaroos).

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