The GAA and AFL have today announced rule changes in the game of International Rules designed to make the game more accessible to Australian players.
Ireland have dominated the last two series in one-sided contests of the much maligned hybrid game.
There had been calls to kill off the game completely after Ireland routed an Indigenous All Stars Australia team 116-37 in Croke Park last October to claim the Cormac McAnallen Cup.
Key amongst the changes made today is the elimination of the short kick-out used so effectively by Ireland in the last two series, and a kick-out from scores or wides must now travel over the 45 metre line or else a free will be awarded on the 45’ in the opposite direction.
The number of consecutive handpasses has also increased from four to six, in order to help combat the Australian difficulties with the round ball.
In their press release, the GAA said today that the changes are “designed to allow for a broader range of AFL players to participate in the game”.
The AFL for their part have added the Australian squad will be only made up of players with “All-Australian experience”, their equivalent of the GAA All Stars.
High profile Aussie Rules players like Patrick Dangerfield, Luke Hodge, Scott Pendlebury and Joel Selwood have said they will tog out for the 2014 series.
Ireland will meet Australia in a one-off game in Perth on November 22 to contest the 2014 series.
* Goalkeepers must now kick the ball out beyond the 45m line after all wides, behinds and overs, which will help bring the taller players (and contested marks) into play. Failure of a goalkeeper to kick over the 45m line will result in a free kick to the opposition (from the 45m line).
* The number of consecutive handpasses allowed has been raised from 4 to 6
* Interchanges have been increased to 15 per quarter (60 for match) with an unlimited number allowed at the quarter, half and three quarter time intervals.
* Marks have been eliminated for kicks backwards – play on will be called in such circumstances