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Kennelly to use International Rules to find AFL's next big Irish star

The former Kerry and Sydney Swan player will help host a combine around this weekend’s test.

Tadhg Kennelly at Australia's training session yesterday.
Tadhg Kennelly at Australia's training session yesterday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TADHG KENNELLY IS determined to find Aussie Rules’ next big Irish star after the recent swathe of imports failed to work out for various reasons.

Kennelly — who won an AFL Premiership with Sydney Swans in 2005 — is, along with 1991 Brownlow Medal winner Jim Stynes, one of the two most successful Irish players to make the breakthrough in Australia.

The 34-year old, who also won an All-Ireland with Kerry in 2009, is keen to ensure that the next big Irish star makes the transition soon.

“A lot of these boys have actually had links with AFL clubs and have either decided not to go, or stay at home, or it hasn’t worked out for some reason,” Kennelly told Australian media yesterday.

And in a fortnight, Kennelly hopes to run a combine in Dublin to put that right.

“I’ve organised for 25 of Ireland’s best 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, hopefully to try and give them an opportunity to go and play in Australia,” Kennelly, now an assistant coach with the Australia, said.

“We’ve had some success with it,” he added, pointing to the likes of Pearce Hanley and Zach Tuohy who enjoyed limited success with the likes of the Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues respectively.

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