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Fletcher backs Aussies to keep their heads

Tom Wald 29/10/2010 03:03:16 PM Comments (0)

Goalkeeper Dustin Fletcher has backed his Australian teammates to keep their cool if the Irish threaten to snatch the International Rules series from them at Croke Park on Saturday.

The Australians won last week's opening match in Limerick by seven points with the series to be determined on for and against if the home side wins the second game in Dublin.

Fletcher, no stranger himself to trips to the AFL Tribunal during his long career, said the tourists were fully aware about not crossing the line on the physical front.

The Bombers fullback played in the 2006 International Rules series that almost ended the hybrid game because of Irish disgust at the heavy-handed tactics dished out by the Australians.

"I think so, in the series gone past there has been a few incidents that have not been the best," he told AAP.

"We are mindful that we can play hard and go at the footy as hard as we can.

"Any of the other stuff is out of the game.

"We want the series to go on ... we will be going in hard but just following all the right rules."

The Australians started last Saturday's match at the Gaelic Grounds in a timid fashion, almost wary of hurting the opposition players.

Players are not allowed to sling players in the tackle in International Rules and there is also a send-off rule.

Fletcher said the Australian players were professional enough to ensure they kept their naturally aggressive instincts in check this weekend even if it gets tight.

"It is fair contact game we have back home and in a way we are accustomed to that and know that ultimately the send off rule applies and things like that," he said.

"I think it has been pretty good with regards to the aggression and that.

"But I dare say this game they will come out firing and I reckon we can definitely match that, that is for sure."

Fletcher said the prospect of playing in front of a large, parochial crowd at Croke Park shouldn't be a drama for any of the younger Australian players.

"We all play in front of some big crowds and it is going to be no different at Croke Park," he said.

"We are well equipped for that."

The weather bureau is predicting clear conditions on Saturday night for the match starting at 7pm (Sunday 0500 AEDT).

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