HAWTHORN'S triple-premiership skipper Luke Hodge has been named the Australian captain for the Virgin Australian International Rules Series.

At a function in New York, Hodge said he was shocked and humbled to be awarded the honour of leading such a collection of great players. 

The IRS Diaries: follow our writers travelling with the Australian team

Australian coach Alastair Clarkson announced the captain at a jumper presentation held at News Corporation's New York office on Friday afternoon.

Players and team officials gathered at the function for AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, News Corporation CEO Robert Thomson and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to present them with their jumpers. 

McLachlan congratulated the players and said the tour and the test against Ireland was important because it reinforced the need for the AFL as a "domestic sport in a small country in the middle of nowhere" to have broad aspirations.

"This series is a chance for us to come together as a code," McLachlan said.

He told the players it was a wonderful opportunity to represent their country in our game and congratulated them on their selection. 

"You have been chosen not only for your ability but for your leadership in our game," McLachlan said.

A photo of the Australian squad and touring party was taken at New York's Times Square earlier in the day with all the players wearing their Australian blazers.

Clarkson said he was passionate about showcasing the game to the world.

Alastair Clarkson and Ross Lyon take a walk through the streets of New York. Picture: AFL Media

"We have selected a group of players who are going to be able to do that very well. It's about what they can do on the field and also about their culture and what they can do off the field," Clarkson said.

Australian Chef De Mission Eddie McGuire, American Australian Association chairman Jennifer Nason (a Collingwood fan), and Australia's Consul-General Nick Minchin also attended the event - Minchin wearing his Adelaide tie and paying special mention to Crows stars Eddie Betts and the now departed Patrick Dangerfield 

The Australian team is attending the New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Friday evening.