AFL coach Mick proud of fighting charges - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL coach Mick proud of fighting charges

By Justin Chadwick 25/10/2008 11:44:01 AM Comments (0)

Australia coach Mick Malthouse has praised his team's never-give-in spirit, saying their final-quarter fightback against Ireland on Friday night has kept this year's International Rules series alive.

Ireland will take a slender one-point lead into the second and deciding Test in Melbourne but the advantage would have been even greater if not for Australia's frenetic finish to Friday night's match.

Australia, who trailed by 17 points early in the final quarter, finished the match with five unanswered overs to close the final margin to 45-44.

Should Australia win the second Test at the MCG, the series winner will be decided on points aggregate - a situation where Australia's fightback in Perth could prove the difference.

"It was a wonderful effort to fight back on two occasions," Malthouse said.

"At one stage there we looked like we had a massive chase to get back next week.

"It's probably easy for the Irish to defend a big lead, it's very difficult now to defend a one-point win.

"What it does is it gives the players the confidence.

"Those who have been in the series before know that if we can improve on our first match, it gives us a better than even chance and that's what we've got to grab."

The Subiaco Oval Test, played in front of 35,153 fans, featured little animosity, with Campbell Brown's shirtfront on Ireland's Finian Hanley the only notable incident.

Brown received a yellow card for the hit but both sides kept their cool, a far cry from the 2006 series where tempers flared at the drop of a hat.

"I guess at AFL level that's a free kick at best," Malthouse said of Brown's hit.

"It wasn't outside the spirit of the game. I'd be very, very upset if it was.

"We won't be any less ferocious next week but I think that we've set a standard now and I'll be bitterly disappointed if we now go below that standard of the sportsmanship and what's required."

Ireland captain Sean Cavanagh, who played a starring role in the win, felt last week's meet-and-greet dinner had eradicated tensions between the two sides.

Cavanagh said Ireland, who scored three goals to Australia's nil in Perth, would look to score even more goals in Melbourne.

"We should play to our strengths and our strengths are getting goals ... so it's going to be something we will work on next week to get a few more goals," Cavanagh said.

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