Star-Studded international Rules Squad Revealed
Geelong’s big-name recruit Patrick Dangerfield and Hawthorn premiership captain Luke Hodge head a star-studded Australian line-up selected to battle Ireland in the 2015 Virgin Australia International Rules Series at Croke Park in Dublin on Saturday, November 21.
The touring Australian team includes Hawthorn stars Sam Mitchell and Jarryd Roughead as well as this year’s All Australian captain Robert Murphy and five-time All Australian Nick Riewoldt.
Dustin Fletcher is also part of the squad, the post-script to his 400-game career with the Bombers destined to be the Australian goalkeeper.
Former Saint Brendon Goddard will also take the field with former teammates Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna.
Emerging stars Hawthorn’s Luke Breust, Port Adelaide’s Chad Wingard, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell and the Western Bulldogs’ Jake Stringer are also part of the 22-man squad of players, which is made up of players from 11 clubs.
Carlton, Collingwood, North Melbourne, Melbourne, Richmond, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney do not have a player in the squad.
All players selected in the 22-man squad, to be coached by three of the AFL’s leading coaches, Alastair Clarkson, Ross Lyon and Chris Scott, have previously earned All Australian selection.
Included in the squad are 14 players who represented Australia in the Virgin Australia International Rules in Perth last season.
Just four players making the trip, Andrew Gaff, Heppell, Roughead and Stringer, have never played International Rules before.
The team will initially travel to New York in the second week of November for a training camp, including a practice match against a US representative GAA team, before arriving in Dublin in the week of the November 21 match.
Clarkson said the challenge of taking on the Irish in Ireland would be huge but the squad represented the best collection of talent the AFL could gather for the game.
“The 2014 Test match in Perth was a great highlight, as we brought together the leading players from across our competition in the one side,” Clarkson said.
“We were able to combine well in a short period and give a great account of ourselves, to win the match, but the challenge will be more difficult again to now go to Ireland and win in front of a capacity crowd at Croke Park.”
In Perth last year, Australian reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Cup with a 10-point victory over the Irish.
Hodge won the Jim Stynes Medal for his performance in front of 38,262 people at Patersons Stadium.
The 2015 Virgin Australia International Rules squad is:
Eddie Betts (Adelaide)
Grant Birchall (Hawthorn)
Luke Breust (Hawthorn)
Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
Dustin Fletcher (Essendon)
Andrew Gaff (West Coast)
Brendon Goddard (Essendon)
Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
Leigh Montagna (St Kilda)
David Mundy (Fremantle)
Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs)
Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda)
Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions)
Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)
Nick Smith (Sydney Swans)
Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs)
Harry Taylor (Geelong)
Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide)
Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs)