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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018

5 Aussies who'll have a big impact in Sunday's International Rules opener

You’ll be seeing a lot these players in the Adelaide Oval.

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1. Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)

THE GEELONG SUPERSTAR is widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation and, at 27, he has plenty left in the tank.

Dangerfield stands at 6’2″, is blessed with remarkable athleticism and is deadly accurate in front of the posts, with 232 goals to his name in 202 AFL appearances.

A Brownlow medalist (Footballer of the Year) in 2016, he’s also picked up All-Australian (All-Star) honours five times so far in his career.

He’s also a massive advocate of the International Rules series and is Australia’s joint-most experienced player (along with Brendon Goddard) with games in 2010, 2014 and 2015 under his belt.

Source: Adelaide Football Club/YouTube

2. Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)

Another former Brownlow medalist in the Australia ranks, Fyfe is also a dual All-Australian.

The 26-year-old Fremantle captain is highly accomplished in the air and an excellent shooter with the Sherrin ball.

He recently penned a $7 million six-year deal to remain at the club where he’s scored 121 goals in 138 games for the Dockers. He’ll make his International Rules debut on Sunday.

Source: Docker TV/YouTube

3. Eddie Betts (Adelaide)

Don’t be fooled by his small stature (5’9″), Betts will take some serious stopping by the Irish defence.

The Adelaide small forward is well used to lining out at the Adelaide Oval, and there’s a patch of grass on the right hand side of the field known as the ‘Eddie Betts pocket’ where he’s notorious for scoring goals from.

“I have watched him quite a lot on the TV and he seems to enjoy playing,” Ireland manager Joe Kernan told Australian TV in Melbourne on Wednesday.

“He plays with a smile on his face, which is very refreshing and good at AFL level. I’m a big admirer.”

The 30-year-old has racked up 534 goals in 277 games and he’s a three-time All-Australian.

Source: Adelaide Football Club/YouTube

4. Joel Selwood (Geelong)

A six-time All-Australian at just 29, Selwood skippered the Aussies on their trip to Ireland for the 2014 game.

The Geelong captain is an aggressive midfielder, known for his hard running, tackling and bravery. An Aussie Rules version of Roy Keane.

“He’s the type of player I look at from afar and say, ‘I’d love to be in the trenches with him,’” said former Sydney Swans star Brett Kirk. Hall of Fame member Wayne Carey described Selwood as a “once-in-a-generation leader.”

Selwood’s physical and courageous approach to the game has seen him suffer various head-related injuries during his career, prompting media commentary over his long-term well-being.

Source: 100% Sport/YouTube

5. Ben Brown (North Melbourne)

Standing at 6’7″, Brown is by far the tallest member of Christ Scott’s panel.

He tends to operate close to goal and has been North Melbourne’s top scorer in each of the last two seasons, scoring 154 goals in 77 games.

Brown’s height and ball-winning ability will cause the Irish full-back problems, and the Aussies will look to isolate him one-on-one with his marker and target him with diagonal passes.

The 24-year-old was only drafted into the AFL in 2014, but he quickly became a cult-hero with North Melbourne’s fans. Once his current deal expires in 12 months’ time, it’s believed he’ll command up to $1.2 million a season on the market.

Earlier this week Brown, who cut his honeymoon short to join the squad, said his late call-up “means the world” to him.

“Dad reminded me how I used to play International Rules in the backyard with my brothers with a trampoline turned up on its side as the goals, so that’s my memory of these kinds of games that I used to watch in the early 2000s.”

He could have a major impact on this series.

Source: AFL/YouTube

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Kevin O'Brien

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