Rules series on cards for 2009 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rules series on cards for 2009

By Roger Vaughan 29/10/2008 07:54:44 PM Comments (0)

The AFL and the Gaelic Athletic Association have set dates next year for the International Rules Tests in Ireland - provided Friday night's game goes smoothly.

GAA president Nickey Brennan has again emphasised that the future of the concept would only be secure if there was not excessive physical aggression on the field.

Australian and Irish officials met in Melbourne ahead of Friday's series decider at the MCG.

They confirmed 2010 will be a year off and AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the league might consider some form of State Of Origin to take the place of the international Tests.

The AFL and GAA plan to resume the series in 2011 in Australia and the following year in Ireland.

Brennan remains confident after last Friday's opening Test in Perth that the series has a future.

It was called off last year and nearly cancelled for good after on-field violence during the 2005 and '06 games.

"I've said all along we want to get through this series, we want to make sure it's played in the right spirit - I'm certainly filled with confidence after last Friday," Brennan said.

"There is the proviso there at all stages and ... we reserve the right to reconsider the matter, but I don't want to be talking down too pessimistically.

"I'd like to be talking optimistically, but let's wait and see.

"As I said at the time (after Perth), it is half-time in every sense of the word."

Demetriou is also upbeat about the series' future.

"We're pretty confident this series is being played in the right spirit and all things being equal, we're looking forward to going to Ireland next year to help the GAA celebrate their 125th year," he said.

Ulster is likely to host the first Test next year on October 24, with the second game at Dublin's Croke Park on November 1.

Demetriou said the confirmation of a two-year cycle for the international rules meant the AFL might have their own exhibition games, such as State Of Origin in the "off" year.

This year, Victoria played a composite Dream Team in the AFL's Hall Of Fame tribute match.

"I started to think about that sort of option when we agreed it would be better to have a two-year cycle," Demetriou said.

"It does leave open the option of the AFL competition doing something of its own in 2010."

The AFL are also likely to agree to two GAA proposals that will limit the AFL recruiting of young Irish players - an issue causing great concern in Ireland.

The GAA want the minimum recruiting age of Irish players raised to 19 and a quota system introduced for AFL clubs.

The AFL Commission is likely to approve the requests by early next year.

"We take these matters very seriously, the fact they've been raised with us," Demetriou said.

Brennan stressed that the junior international rules series between the two countries "is dead, it will not be resumed".

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