Main content

Clarkson expects tough clash against Irish

Hawks poised, Danger weighs in, trade latest Nat Edwards with the latest footy news

AUSTRALIAN coach Alastair Clarkson says it's going to be tough to beat the Irish on their home turf in the 2015 Virgin Australia International Rules Series.

The one-off Test, to be played at Croke Park in Dublin on November 21, is expected to be an intense battle, with the Australians taking a strong team on the trip.

"It's going to be tough. I'm sure they will be smarting a little bit after lowering their colours to us last year," Clarkson said.

"They will have looked at the quality of our players and the way that we played and trying everything they can to win this game and get the trophy back in Ireland."

Geelong recruit Patrick Dangerfield said he had no hesitation in joining the tour after such a great experience with the Australian team in Perth in 2014.

"You learn a huge amount out of it because of the players and the coaches you are dealing with," Dangerfield said.

"It promises to be a great trip."

Western Bulldogs forward Jake Stringer, the youngest player on the trip, said he could not wait for the chance to spend time in the company of some of the game's greats.

"I'm only 21, so to be able to spend time with Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge can only help me in the future," Stringer said.

Clarkson said Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher was right to go and he had been subjected to a fitness test.

"He is a bit long in the tooth 'Fletch', but he is still the best goalkeeper that we have got in our view in the game with those long Inspector Gadget arms, so we've met with Fletch two or three times in the last month and monitored his fitness," Clarkson said.

"We're looking forward to the wily veteran heading up our group again."

The premiership coach said one of his biggest responsibilities alongside winning the Test was to ensure the players returned in good shape for the pre-season.