Aussies injury-free for Croker clash

Australia are reporting no injury worries ahead of tomorrow's International Rules second Test against Ireland at Croke Park.

Australia are reporting no injury worries ahead of tomorrow's International Rules second Test against Ireland at Croke Park.

The tourists are well primed for a tilt at regaining the Cormac McAnallen Cup, according to Fremantle attacker Paul Duffield.

Duffield made his International Rules debut in Limerick last weekend, and is looking forward to playing in front of his biggest ever attendance. In excess of 50,000 spectators are expected at Croke Park on Saturday night.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said the 25-year-old. "I'm certainly not intimidated at all. I'm really excited to go out here (at Croke Park) and hear the roar of the crowd.

"I know that it will be a majority of Irish supporters and I hope that they are really vocal. That would be make for a great contest for both sides."

Duffield is aware of the criticism levelled at both Australia and Ireland after last Saturday's 47-40 win for the tourists, which lacked the physical exchanges of previous encounters.

He says that both sides brought a real intensity to their game.

"It certainly was very fast out there. The Irish move really, really well so certainly it was tough in defence but I think we worked really well together.

"It's something that we have come together really quickly, and that has stood us in good stead with us defending well as a team."

But, Duffield concedes that Australia's defence gave way in the final quarter, as Ireland pegged back an 18-point deficit to finish seven points adrift at the full-time hooter.

"Probably just a little bit of a lack of concentration late in the game. Certainly I think we were well up on the scoreboard and I think they threw caution to the wind for a little while and attacked fluently and it certainly put us on the backfoot.

"I think we'd usually back our fitness as the game unfolds, but that's just great credit to the Irish. They really managed to put some pressure on late in the game."

Pressure which Duffield knows all too well about, having been one of the Australian defenders placed in the thick of it in the closing stages.

"Some of their smaller, nuggety forwards were hard to keep on top of. I'm not the smallest bloke so I was trying to keep on them a fair bit, but they are very quick and very nimble.

"Certainly it's something that has been a real challenge and that I have enjoyed taking on. It's a definite skill set of the Irish.

"I was chasing him (Bernard Brogan) down and I don't think I made a yard on him. He was a bit quick for me, but we'll expect that (this weekend).

"I know that's a strength of the Irish game and we'll be expecting more scoring this week," he added.

A seven-point lead gives Mick Malthouse's men the edge in terms of lifting the Cormac McAnallen Cup on Saturday night, but Duffield says that his side will not approach the game with aggregate scoring on their minds.

"We probably won't take it into account at all. It's not something we are used to, the aggregate point difference. We play each game on its merits.

"As far as we are concerned it's zero-zero and we'll start again to try and do our very best to try and win this final Test.

"Certainly that's an advantage I guess late in the game, but something that we won't be thinking about from the very start. We'll just aim to do our best and win Saturday's game."

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