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AFL reveals International Rules squad

New Don, Demon Jake, humble Plugger Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with all the latest news
Rory Sloane is one of nine debutants in the IRS squad - AFL,International Rules
Rory Sloane is one of nine debutants in the IRS squad

GEELONG-bound Gold Coast superstar Gary Ablett is one of nine debutants in Australia's 17-man squad to face Ireland in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series in November.  

Ireland holds the Cormac McAnallen Trophy thanks to its victory in the one-off Test at Croke Park in Dublin two years ago.  

Matches will be played at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, November 12 and Perth's Domain Stadium on Saturday, November 18.  

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury spoke about how much he wanted to again play for Australia, after last doing so in 2008.

"The lure of playing for Australia is fairly strong. We don't get the opportunity to do that in our code so any chance we can to do that, and that's why guys are so keen now," Pendlebury said.

"It's probably moved up another level with having a selection criteria around All Australian. It really is the chance to play with the best of the best."

Geelong coach Chris Scott is in charge of the Australian side, with support from his brother Brad Scott and Fremantle's Ross Lyon.  

Docker Nathan Fyfe, Greater Western Sydney's Toby Greene, Demon Michael Hibberd, Adelaide's Rory Laird and Rory Sloane, Bomber Zach Merrett, Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder and Brisbane Lion Dayne Zorko are the other first-time squad members.

The captain and leadership group will be named closer to the first Test, and there could be up to four players added to the squad depending on selected members' availability.   

One name who won't appear is that of Richmond superstar Dustin Martin. After a stellar campaign which saw the Tiger sweep awards season, Luke Ball, who represented the coaches on Thursday, said Martin was weary after a long year.

"He certainly expressed some strong interest in the concept, as most players do," Ball said. 

"Understandably, he's had such a big season and in the end, got back to us only last night actually and said 'Look, the body needs a rest'."

Scott said the squad was a mix of players with previous experience in the hybrid game, as well as debutants who were All Australians this year or still had outstanding seasons.  

"Selection in the Australian side is about both recognising the great players in our competition, and those players who are emerging as stars who will dominate the seasons to come," Scott said.

"As selectors, we needed to balance the team with players who have represented Australia before, and understand the game and how it is played against Ireland, and also look to the next generation of elite players who deserve the opportunity to represent us on an international stage.

"All Australian selection at some point in a player’s career was a pre-requisite for consideration, as we also believe that the best players want to learn from each other and provide an environment where they can be better again when they return to their clubs."

The squad will gather in Adelaide in the week before the first Test.  

Ticket prices for both venues start at $25 for adults and $50 for a family ticket.  

Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury at Thursday's announcement. Picture: AFL Photos


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.