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The AFL should do the humane thing and put International Rules out of its misery after the second and final test tonight on the Gold Coast tonight. It has no relevance and I think it's more like International Snooze than International Rules.
The AFL should do the humane thing and put International Rules out of its misery after the second and final test tonight on the Gold Coast.
This mongrel breed of Australian Rules and Gaelic Football has finally lost its novelty value after thirteen years. It’s like the houseguest who long outstays their welcome: good value at first but after a while they become annoying as hell. Eventually, it gets to the point where you just want them to piss off and never come back.
Only 22,976 fans rocked up to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne for the first test last Friday night to see see an under-strength Ireland smash an under-strength Australia by 44 points. Two records were set that night: the lowest International Rules crowd on Australian soil and the biggest winning margin between the two countries.
Not that anybody cares: not the clubs, not the players, not the fans.
Dejavu perhaps? You bet. Between 1984-1990, Australia and Ireland played several three match test series of the hybrid code, which was killed off by poor crowds and a general lack of interest before being revived in 1998 just as the last rites were being read to State-of-Origin footy.
International Rules was seen as a chance to reward players chosen in the annual All-Australian team, a ceremonial team that never played a game.
Those early Australian teams boasted genuine superstars and premiership players along with All-Australians. But it soon became clear that the high-octane game suited a certain type of player. There was no room for big units like ruckmen and key-position players.
Kamikaze pinball demanded fast, mobile and highly-skilled footballers and, after losing three of the four series upon the resumption of play, Australia changed tack, stacking its squads with midfielders to match Ireland’s mosquito fleet.
That’s okay when you’ve got the likes of Nathan Buckley, Andrew McLeod and Mark Ricciuto pulling on the green and gold (and navy blue) guernsey.
But it’s definitely not okay when you’ve got a second-rate squad that includes an 18 year-old rookie from the wooden-spooners among a list of no-names you've probably never heard of.
No wonder John Q. Citizen stayed away.
International Rules is now just an expensive recruitment drive by the AFL to entice young Irish lads to try their luck with the Sherrin.
The money wasted on the series would be better spent on junior development, that’s if the AFL first didn’t blow it all on ambitious expansion plans that include far-flung places like New Zealand, South Africa and Mars.
Is it just me or has the International Rules become no longer relevant....again!!