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Jetta added to Australian squad

Matt Burgan  November 2, 2017 3:48 PM

I’m more than happy to put my hand up and represent Australia. Hopefully I can do my part and help Australia to a couple of wins

NEVILLE Jetta has been added to the Australian squad for the upcoming two-test Virgin Australia International Rules Series against Ireland.

Jetta was one of six players added to the squad on Thursday, along with North Melbourne duo Ben Brown and Robbie Tarrant, Carlton’s Kade Simpson, Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston and West Coast’s Luke Shuey.

Melbourne now has two players in the Australian squad, after 2017 All-Australian Michael Hibberd was named in the original squad.

Jetta, who had his finest AFL season in 2017, finishing fifth in Melbourne’s best and fairest award, was named in the initial 40-man All-Australian squad this year, but was not selected in the final 22.

The popular and much-admired defender said it was an unexpected honour to receive the call-up.   

“I’m more than happy to put my hand-up and represent Australia. Hopefully I can do my part and help Australia to a couple of wins,” Jetta told melbournefc.com.au.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is seeing other guys go about their business. You see them on TV and the way they go about their footy, and it’ll be great to train with them and play with them. I’m sure I’ll take a few things away from being with them and adding them to my game. It’ll only help my career.

“Having players who have been selected in the All-Australian squad only makes the concept and game all the more exciting to watch, because you’re picking the best players from that year and in recent seasons. It’s great that the game has got back to where it was a few years ago.”

Jetta said he had already started practicing kicking the round ball with Hibberd.

“It’s definitely challenging kicking the round ball, but we were trying to work out the best way to kick it. We had a chat about it – Hibbo’s a left-footer and I’m a right-footer – so we’ll continue to practice it and get ready to go,” he said.

“It’s great to be joining ‘Hibbo’ and have a familiar face in the team. I trusted him, playing down back with him this year – he had a ripper season – and I’m looking forward to playing in the series.”

Australian coach Chris Scott said the new squad members had been specifically targeted for key roles in the line-up after having outstanding 2017 seasons.

“All six players who will complete the Australian squad have been members of the All Australian season squad during their careers, as elite players of the competition, and each has been in outstanding form this season,” he said.

“They provide us with a mix of both height in defence and attack and speed through the midfield.

“Kade Simpson is a previous Jim Stynes Medallist (2008) and has been a star in IRS matches while Brown, Shuey, Jetta, Gunston, and Tarrant were all outstanding for their respective clubs this year.”

The Australian squad will come together in Adelaide on Thursday, November 9, ahead of the first test, which will be played at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, November 12 (3.40pm ACDT) and then at Domain Stadium on Saturday, November 18 (4.45pm AWST).

Ireland holds the Cormac McAnnellen Trophy after its victory in the one-off test at Croke Park in Dublin in 2015.

2017 Australian Squad

Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns), Eddie Betts (Adelaide Crows), Ben Brown (North Melbourne), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats), Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle), Jack Gunston (Hawthorn), Brendon Goddard (Essendon), Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), Neville Jetta (Melbourne), Rory Laird (Adelaide Crows), Zac Merrett (Essendon), Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), Joel Selwood (Geelong Cats), Luke Shuey (West Coast Eagles), Kade Simpson (Carlton), Rory Sloane (Adelaide Crows), Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne), Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide) and Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions).