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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 18 November, 2018

6 players to watch in Saturday's International Rules test between Ireland and Australia

These stars are worth keeping a close eye on at Croke Park.

1. Nick Riewoldt (Australia)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Riewoldt is the captain of St Kilda and one of the finest forwards in the Australian Football League.

The number one pick at the 2000 AFL national draft is a five-time Trevor Barker Medallist (St Kilda’s player of the season award), four-time All-Australian (the AFL version of the Allstars), and a former AFL Rising Star recipient.

Riewoldt suffered deep personal loss earlier this year when his sister Madeleine died following a five-year battle with a rare blood disease. 

2. Niall Morgan (Ireland)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

As goalkeeper, Tyrone netminder Morgan is one of Ireland’s key players.

The 24-year-old Edendork netminder has made quite a name for himself in recent years for not only his shot-stopping abilities, but also his penchant for nailing placed balls from long-range.

Morgan will play as the traditional ‘sweeper-keeper’ in the International Rules Test, a player who must marry primary goalkeeping responsibilities with quick restarts.

3. Luke Hodge (Australia)

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Hodge captained Hawthorn to their third straight Premiership title this year and is Australia’s skipper at Croke Park.

Hodge’s exploits in the 2014 Grand Final earned him the Norm Smith (man of the match) medal for a second time.

31-year-old Hodge started his career as a half-back but has often played in a more advanced role in later years.

Revered by his peers, has played 271 career AFL games and looks certain to crash through the 300 barrier before he retires.

4. Philly McMahon (Ireland)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

McMahon practices MMA fighting in his spare time and his abrasive streak should suit the hybrid game.

Found himself hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons following his controversial tangle with Kieran Donaghy in the All-Ireland final but McMahon enjoyed a brilliant year with Dublin that saw him nominated for the Player of the Year award.

Like him or not, McMahon is the kind of player you’d want with you in the trenches for a clash with the Aussies.

He’s one of five Dublin players in boss Joe Kernan’s Ireland squad.

5. David Mundy (Australia)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Mundy has clocked up an impressive total of 233 AFL appearances during his career.

The Fremantle player is renowned for his ball-winning skills and should emerge as a key linkman for the Australians.

He’s regarded as one of the AFL’s most underrated midfield players but the 30-year-old finally earned his first call up to the All-Australian team this year.

Seasoned observers expressed surprise that it had taken Mundy so long to make the list.

6. Peter Harte (Ireland)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Harte’s high-octane should be perfectly suited to the Croke Park Test.

The Errigal Ciarán dynamo enjoyed a brilliant 2015 championship campaign with Tyrone and was unlucky to be overlooked for an Allstar award.

Harte is an extremely versatile player, capable of playing in defence or attack, and you can expect him to cover almost every blade of grass at GAA HQ when called upon.

The flame-haired ace can provide the ideal link between both halves of the pitch for boss Joe Kernan as he looks to implement a gameplan capable of hurting the Aussies.

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