The International Rules Series returns on 12 November, with Australia to host Ireland in a two-Test series in November. It will be the first time since 2013 that the series will feature two Tests. For GAA players pulling on that Ireland International Rules jersey is one of the highlights of their career. Here’s the lowdown from O’Neills.
When and Where
The open game takes place at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday 12 November, 6am kick-off Irish time, with the second clash pencilled in for the following Saturday in Perth venue, 8.45am kick-off Irish time.
Was It Played Last year?
No. After a one-year hiatus and following single-Test series in 2014 and 2015, the AFL and GAA did not play in 2016 but the series returns for 2017.
Who Won Last Time?
Ireland hold the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after defeating Australia in the one-off Test at Croke Park in 2015.
Are the Australians Taking It Seriously?
Yes, the AFL has again committed to field a team made up entirely of All Australian players. Football operations manager Mark Evans said it was crucial that Australia matched Ireland’s commitment to field its best players and limited selection to All Australian representatives.
Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield, Hawthorn premiership captain Luke Hodge and former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt were among the stars who helped reinvigorate to the format in 2014 and 2015.
Who is Managing Australia?
Australia has committed to appointing the best coaches in the game after Alastair Clarkson led the team in 2014 and 2015. Geelong coach Chris Scott and Fremantle mentor Ross Lyon were assistants to Hawthorn mastermind Alastair Clarkson for that series.
This year, Scott will step up as senior coach, with support from his brother Brad and Lyon.
Is this Series a One Off?
No. The GAA and AFL have agreed in principle to play a two-Test series in Ireland in 2019, but no announcement has been made about future Tests in the United States.
What the Australians Say
"The one-off Test matches in Perth and Dublin over the last two years were two high-class encounters played in front of very strong crowds," Mark Evans said.
"Australian and Irish fans have shown they want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers. Restricting selection to only a player who has earned All Australian selection through his AFL career has ensured the prestige of playing in the International Rules Series."
What the GAA Say
The GAA said it believed the scheduling of two-Test series in 2017 and 2019 was a logical development following the renewed popularity of the format.
Joe Kernan, who coached Ireland to a thrilling win in the 2015 series, will lead the visitors.
In May this year, Evans said the AFL and GAA would continue to explore ways to stage "matches or exhibition games to the many expat Irish and Australians living in the US in the years ahead."
The Last Time We Were in Perth
The last time Perth hosted a Test was 2014, with Australian winning 56-46.
"Another Test in Perth, which is fantastic, a rich history here, a number of victories, close games and sell-outs," Lyon said.
"My experience here was a sell-out and previous to that every other game has been a sell-out, which is fantastic, and it really displays the passion of Perth football people. Added to that is the sentiment of the last AFL game at Domain Stadium after a long period of time, so there's a lot to like."
Ireland International Rules Squad 2017
The Irish team is captained by Aidan O’Shea. None of the Dublin all Ireland winning panel have been able to travel with club commitments to the fore. Tyrone AFL emerging star Conor McKenna also misses out through injury.
Niall Morgan (Edendork, Tyrone)
Chris Barrett (Belmullet, Mayo)
Gary Brennan (Clondegad, Clare)
Eoin Cadogan (Douglas, Cork)
Killian Clarke (Shercock, Cavan)
Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers, Kerry)
Kevin Feely (Athy, Kildare)
Niall Grimley (Madden Raparees, Armagh)
Paul Geaney (Dingle, Kerry)
Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast/Ballaghadereen, Mayo)
Brendan Harrison (Aghamore, Mayo)
Conor Mc Manus (Clontibret, Monaghan)
Michael Murphy (Glenswilly, Donegal)
Niall Murphy (Coolera/Strandhill, Sligo)
Paul Murphy (Rathmore, Kerry)
Karl O'Connell (Tyholland, Monaghan)
Aidan O'Shea (Breaffy, Mayo) [Captain]
Niall Sludden (Dromore, Tyrone)
Enda Smith (Boyle, Roscommon)
Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen, Tipperary)
Zach Tuohy (Geelong/Portlaoise, Laois)
Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne, Galway)
Sean Powter (Douglas, Cork)
Gary Ablett (Gold Coast), All Australian 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (vice-captain), 2011 (captain), 2012 (vice-captain), 2013 (vice-captain), 2014. Never previously played IRS.
Eddie Betts (Adelaide), All Australian 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2015.
Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2014, 2014. IRS representative 2014.
Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), All Australian 2006. IRS representative 2008.
Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong), All Australian 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2014, 2015.
Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle), All Australian 2014, 2015. Never previously played IRS.
Brendon Goddard (Essendon), All Australian 2009, 2010. IRS representative 2006, 2014, 2015.
Toby Greene (Greater Western Sydney). All Australian 2006. Never previously played IRS.
Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.
Rory Laird (Adelaide), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.
Zac Merrett (Essendon), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.
Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), All Australian 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. IRS representative 2008.
Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.
Joel Selwood (Geelong), All Australian 2009, 2010, 2013 (captain), 2014 (captain), 2016 (captain), 2017. IRS representative 2014 (captain).
Rory Sloane (Adelaide), All Australian 2016. Never previously played IRS.
Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2013, 2015. IRS representative 2014.
Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.