Shaun Burgoyne has been named captain of the Australian side to face Ireland in the upcoming International Rules series.
The 35-year-old four-time premiership star won the honour over AFL club captains Nathan Fyfe, Scott Pendlebury and Joel Selwood.
Pendlebury said the team was “stoked” for Burgoyne, who’s representing Australia for the first time since 2008.
“Everyone got around him and it’s a great acknowledgement for his career in AFL,” Pendlebury said.
“He’s a four-time premiership player and I think he’s played like 50 finals games.
“The whole group is really happy with the choice.”
The Australian side had their first training session with the unfamiliar round ball yesterday, with many players having never previously played International Rules.
Assistant coach Ross Lyon was confident the team would quickly gel before Sunday’s first test at the Adelaide Oval.
“We have some players that have represented the country before, so we’ll group the players who are new to the concept with some of the experienced guys and talk about things that have worked for us,” Lyon said.
“We’ll have a rules meeting tomorrow, we’ll just go through it clearly before our main session.
“They’re not that complicated, really.
“The players are high level performers and we’re confident they can adapt.”
Taking over the gloves as Aussie goalkeeper will be Essendon veteran Brendon Goddard, who admitted it was a new experience.
“It’s something a little bit foreign to me, with Fletch [Dustin Fletcher] being the number one goalie for a couple of years. I don’t quite have the Gadget-like reach that Fletch’s had in the past,” Goddard said.
“He texted me the other day asking me if I had the tee that we are allowed to kick off for kick-ins, so he was going to try and find one [to practice with], but that’s about it.”
Goddard added that the home side will bring physicality to the two fixtures, but won’t cross the line.
“It does get a little bit heated and the Irish are very good at niggling and we have taken it a step too far in recent history,” Goddard said.
“One of our advantages is being physical, as they don’t have that in their game, while they have the skills with the round ball.
“But we do need to try and influence the game with our physicality.”
The two game series kicks off on Sunday at the Adelaide Oval before heading to Perth next Saturday.