International Rules 2003

SERIES WIN 31/10/03

By: Tracey Tilsed, Australia -

Australia captured the Fosters International Rules series against Ireland on home soil for the first time.

In front of 60,000 fans at the MCG on Friday night, the Australian's won the series by seven points, despite losing the second test by three points on a wet and miserable night in Melbourne.

Carrying a ten point deficit into the second test, Ireland jumped out of the blocks to lead the Australian's into the quarter time break 22 points to four.

Ireland continued to dominate the Australian's leading by 15 points at half-time, and 17 points at the final change.

However, the Australian's restricted the Irish to 4 points (1 over and 1 point), kicking 18 points (5 overs and 3 points) themselves to reduce the gap to a series winning margin.

It was Australia's Nathan Brown who produced an inspirational final ten minutes of the match to ensure the home team claimed the trophy. Irish forward Steven McDonnell scored his third over at the 11 minute mark to take Ireland to a 13 point lead. However Brown turned the match by scoring three overs within the space of five minutes, the first from a free kick from a difficult angle and the last from a kick on the run.

Ireland looked in to the box seat after dominating the Australian's in the first term. In wet and slippery conditions, the Irish scored two six pointers through Brian McDonald and Steven McDonnell.

Ireland looked set to claim the second match of the series however a dubious off-the-ball penalty to Brent Harvey in the third quarter gave the Australian's their only six pointer for the match, and lifted the home sides spirits lifted.

Ireland's Graham Canty played a superb match against Barry Hall, restricting the Sydney Swans player to just one over, after Hall kicked four overs in last week's match in Perth.

Canty also planted a strong tackle on Brent Harvey which sparked a minor flare-up, resulting in Australia's Jade Rawlings being sin-binned after he ran in to remonstrate with Canty.

Final Scores:-

Australia: 0.1.1, 0.4.3, 1.5.6, 1.10.9 (45)
Goals: Harvey
Overs: Brown 3, Wirrpunda 2, Hall, Smith, B Johnson, Harvey, Pavlich.
Best: Brown, Harvey, C Johnson, Power, Wirrpunda, Crawford, Kirk.

Ireland: 2.2.4, 2.4.6, 2.8.8, 2.9.9 (48)
Goals: McDonald, McDonnell
Overs: McDonnell 3, Joyce 2, Coulter, Dolan, Lynch, McDonald.
Best: Joyce, McDonnell, Lynch, McDonald, McAnallen, Canty, McGeeney.

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