by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
After losing the last series in 2008, Australia has reclaimed bragging rights over Ireland with a hard-fought three point win in the second game. Ireland played a more aggressive attacking game this time round, laying a number of tackles, but the Australians held firm even when under siege in the final term.
Ireland paid more attention to first game hero Adam Goodes who, although not as damaging in this game, still contributed two overs. Brad Green and Dane Swan filled the breach. Australia had the better of Ireland in the opening term to lead by five points at quarter time. The second term came to a halt shortly after it started when Australia called for a head count. The Irish were found to have one extra man - former Magpie Marty Clarke - on the field but he quickly headed for the bench and play resumed. The term was relatively even with Australia outscoring the Irish by one point. Paul Duffield and Travis Varcoe tackles helped set up several scoring opportunities for Australia but Dustin Fletcher was the hero of the term with two excellent saves to help Australia hold its lead. A late over from Ireland's McKernan cut Australia's lead to 11 points at half-time.
Ireland came back to within six points early in third term but Australia responded to extend their lead to 17 points. Midway through the term, Fletcher was drawn away from the play which allowed Ireland's Kavanagh to run on to a loose ball and soccer through the only goal for the match. Ireland got to within nine points but Australia managed to hang on for a 10 point lead at three quarter time.
Ireland came out firing early in the final term with a quick six points to be within four points. Some strong defensive work from Australia prevented several more scores from Ireland before two long overs from Ireland's Goulding and Murphy gave Ireland a four point lead. Midway through the term, Swan and Green kicked overs to restore Australia's lead and seal the win.
Swan was again best on ground and capped off his excellent 2010 by winning the Jim Stynes Medal. Others to impress for Australia were Brad Green (the team's leading scorer with 16 points in all), Bryce Gibbs, Todd Banfield, Liam Picken and Dustin Fletcher. Daniel Cross was his usual tireless self in the midfield while James Frawley did well in defense.
Colm Begley, who spent time in Australia with Brisbane and St Kilda, was named best player for Ireland. Ireland defender Stephen Cluxton was also impressive in defense.
The Australian team for this match:
GOALKEEPER: Dustin Fletcher
BACKS: James Frawley, Tyson Goldsack, Garrick Ibbotson
HALF-BACKS: Paul Duffield, Liam Picken, Bryce Gibbs
MIDFIELD: Daniel Cross, Dane Swan
HALF-FORWARDS: Travis Varcoe, Brad Green, Patrick Dangerfield
FORWARDS: Leigh Montagna, Adam Goodes, Todd Banfield
Interchange: Eddie Betts, Matthew Boyd, Sam Gilbert, Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, Jack Riewoldt, Kade Simpson, David Wojcinski
AUS 0.4.4 0.7.7 0.12.12 0.14.13 (55) IRE 0.2.3 0.4.5 1.8.8 1.11.13 (52)
GOALS (6 points)
OVERS (3 points)
Australia: Green 4, Swan 3, Goodes 2, Banfield 2, Montagna, McVeigh, Betts
Ireland: Coulter 2, M. Murphy 2, Begley, McKernan, McDonnell, B. Murphy, Brogan, Kennelly, Cavanagh
Australia: Swan, Green, Banfield, Gibbs, Frawley, Fletcher, Goodes
Ireland: Canty, Begley, McKernan, Coulter, Walsh, M. Murphy, Clarke
UMPIRES: David Coldrick, Brett Rosebury
CROWD: 61,842 at Croke Park, Dublin
Source: theage.com.au, heraldsun.com.au, afl.com.au
Article last changed on Friday, November 05, 2010 - 10:24 AM EDT