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The heat is on: Aussies bank on Irish melting

International Rules: a fiery hybrid history The IRS series has a long and at times ferocious history
Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury - AFL,Scott Pendlebury,International Rules
Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury

AUSTRALIA is banking on the Irish melting in the sweltering Adelaide heat in the first Test of the Virgin Australia International Rules Series at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to reach 34 degrees, putting a strain on both teams in a game that is played at a lightning-quick pace.

But Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury said the AFL stars would be well prepared to survive the conditions, despite the game being held during the off-season.

"The heat is going to be a big factor in the game," Pendlebury said.

"It probably won't be for us, it will be more for the Irish boys.

"We can't control the heat, but we're happy it's here.

"The off-season you take two or three weeks off then you're back into training, so everyone is fit, raring to go and really looking forward to it."

The Australian team completed a two-hour training session at Football Park on Friday, with several players, including Nat Fyfe, Rory Sloane and Joel Selwood doing extra running after the session finished.

As they have done in previous series, Australia will be focusing on scoring overs – when the ball is kicked between the two middle posts – that are worth three points.

Teams can score six points for an under, when the ball goes between the soccer-style goalposts between the middle posts.


"It's not natural for us," Pendlebury said.

"It's probably something if we get a chance we'll take it, but other than that, just go for the over and bank the three points because it's not a strong suit for ours.

"No offence to Brendon (Goddard), our goalie, but the Irish goalie does it for a living and Brendon's doing it twice.

"We'll just take the overs and make sure we bank as many three points as we can."

It's been nine years since Pendlebury last represented Australia in an IRS in 2008.

"I just remember the speed of the game was incredibly quick," he said.

"Just the short duration, you can literally go flat out from the start of the game to the end.

"I'm looking forward to playing and I've got the upmost respect for the Irish guys.

"I know they're technically classed as amateurs, but they're as good as athletes as we've ever played against."

Pendlebury said the Australians were adapting to kicking the round ball.

"It's about finding what works for you," he said.

"That's why yesterday's session was so good, having half an hour, 45 minutes of freedom and get used to what works."


First Test: Adelaide Oval, Sunday, November 12
Second Test: Domain Stadium, Saturday, November 18