The AFL today announced the squad for the 2011 International Rules Series, to be played in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast.

The team, to be led by former Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, is defending the Cormac McAnallen trophy, which was won 2-0 in Ireland last year under the leadership of captain Adam Goodes and coach Mick Malthouse.

Eade said the Australian party is suited to the demands of the hybrid game, with an emphasis around players with particularly strong kicking skills, pace and the ability to move the ball quickly, as well as being able to defend against the well-skilled Irish side.

“To be successful against Irish sides who have an emphasis on a fast-moving forward line and great ball skills, we need to select players who are both quick across the ground and have good foot skills that can adapt to the round ball very quickly,” Eade said.

“We have selected well-performed players in the youth bracket of 20-24 year olds around the competition to provide spark and enthusiasm, combined with a proven track record in AFL footy of their running power.

“We will need to use our pace in attack and then have the ability to use our repeat speed and defend just as hard when Ireland has the ball and is attacking our goals,” he said. 

The team is: Richard Douglas (Adelaide Crows), 95 games, 0 Tests; James Frawley (Melbourne), 82 games, Two Tests 2010; Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), 68 games, 0 Tests; Brad Green (Melbourne), 241 games, Four Tests 2004/2010; Shaun Grigg (Richmond), 64 games, 0 Tests; James Kelly (Geelong Cats), 194 games, 0 Tests; Jake King (Richmond), 75 games, 0 Tests; Ben McGlynn (Sydney Swans), 82 games, 0 Tests; Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast Suns), 21 games, 0 Tests; Stephen Milne (St Kilda), 236 games, Two Tests 2002; Angus Monfries (Essendon), 132 games, 0 Tests; Robin Nahas (Richmond), 55 games, 0 Tests; Mark Nicoski (West Coast), 112 games, 0 Tests; Mitch Robinson (Carlton), 49 games, 0 Tests; Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), 42 games, 0 Tests; Zac Smith (Gold Coast Suns), 20 games, 0 Tests; Matthew Suckling (Hawthorn), 29 games, 0 Tests; Andrew Swallow (North Melbourne), 106 games, 0 Tests; Colin Sylvia (Melbourne), 121 games, 0 Tests; Jack Trengove (Melbourne), 37 games, 0 Tests; Bernie Vince (Adelaide Crows), 88 games, 0 Tests; Callan Ward (GWS Giants), 60 games, 0 Tests; David Wojcinski (Geelong Cats), 199 games, One Test; Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs), 28 games, 0 Tests.

Green and Frawley were members of last year’s winning team in Ireland while Grigg, Monfries and Swallow have all played IRS at junior level.

The squad was selected by Rodney Eade, assistant coaches Wayne Campbell and Andrew McLeod, Match Committee Member Brad Johnson and AFL Football Administration Manager Rod Austin. The AFL has also appointed medical officers, physiotherapists, trainers and football logistics staff from across the competition to work in each area of the team’s requirements.

The first Test will be played at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Friday October 28, with the second Test played at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast on Friday November 4.  Both matches will be broadcast nationally by Network Ten and simulcast into Ireland via TG4.

The squad will come together in Melbourne next week to prepare for the series, before travelling to the Gold Coast on Sunday October 30. Both Test matches have been strongly supported respectively by the Victorian and Queensland State Governments and will be broadcast nationally by Network Ten.

The second Test match at Metricon Stadium will see International Rules played in Queensland for the first time, at the home of the Gold Coast Suns.

“Having an International Rules match hosted in Queensland for the first time is a real coup for our great state,” said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

“This match event is expected to draw fans from both interstate and overseas, which is great for the Queensland tourism industry as well as local jobs and communities. I encourage Queensland AFL fans to head to the Gold Coast to show your support for our Australian team when we take on Ireland in the decider,” said Premier Bligh.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said the Gold Coast was gearing up for a spectacular celebration of the unique International Rules experience.

“The Gold Coast is ready to welcome the Australian and Ireland International Rules teams and all of their supporters this November to a great new stadium, classic Gold Coast hospitality, and all the fun that Australia’s favourite playground is famous for,” said Mr Winter.

The 2011 International Rules Series is proudly supported by the Victorian Government and the Queensland Government through Events Queensland.

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