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Hibberd named in International Rules squad

Marc McGowan  October 12, 2017 11:18 AM

GEELONG-bound Gold Coast superstar Gary Ablett is one of nine debutants in Australia's 17-man squad to face Ireland in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series in November.  

Ireland holds the Cormac McAnnellen Trophy thanks to its victory in the one-off Test at Croke Park in Dublin two years ago.  

Matches will be played at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, November 12 and Perth's Domain Stadium on Saturday, November 18.  

Geelong coach Chris Scott is in charge of the Australian side, with support from his brother Brad Scott and Fremantle's Ross Lyon.  

Docker Nathan Fyfe, Greater Western Sydney's Toby Greene, Demon Michael Hibberd, Adelaide's Rory Laird and Rory Sloane, Bomber Zach Merrett, Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder and Brisbane Lion Dayne Zorko are the other first-time squad members. 

The captain and leadership group will be named closer to the first Test, and there could be playing additions to the squad depending on selected members' availability.  

Scott said the squad was a mix of players with previous experience in the hybrid game, as well as debutants who were All Australians this year or still had outstanding seasons.  

"Selection in the Australian side is about both recognising the great players in our competition, and those players who are emerging as stars who will dominate the seasons to come," Scott said.

"As selectors, we needed to balance the team with players who have represented Australia before, and understand the game and how it is played against Ireland, and also look to the next generation of elite players who deserve the opportunity to represent us on an international stage.

"All Australian selection at some point in a player’s career was a pre-requisite for consideration, as we also believe that the best players want to learn from each other and provide an environment where they can be better again when they return to their clubs."

The squad will gather in Adelaide in the week before the first Test.  

Ticket prices for both venues start at $25 for adults and $50 for a family ticket.  

2017 AUSTRALIAN SQUAD

Gary Ablett (Gold Coast), All Australian 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (vice-captain), 2011 (captain), 2012 (vice-captain), 2013 (vice-captain), 2014. Never previously played IRS.

Eddie Betts (Adelaide), All Australian 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2015.

Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2014, 2014. IRS representative 2014.

Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), All Australian 2006. IRS representative 2008.

Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong), All Australian 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2014, 2015.

Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle), All Australian 2015, 2015. Never previously played IRS.

Brendon Goddard (Essendon), All Australian 2009, 2010. IRS representative 2006, 2014, 2015.

Toby Greene (Greater Western Sydney). All Australian 2006. Never previously played IRS.

Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Rory Laird (Adelaide), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Zac Merrett (Essendon), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), All Australian 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. IRS representative 2008.

Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Joel Selwood (Geelong), All Australian 2009, 2010, 2013 (captain), 2014 (captain), 2016 (captain), 2017. IRS representative 2014 (captain).

Rory Sloane (Adelaide), All Australian 2016. Never previously played IRS.

Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2013, 2015. IRS representative 2014.

Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.