Ireland have received an assurance from a somewhat unlikely source that Australia will bid to be on their best behaviour for tomorrow’s second International Rules Test in Melbourne.
Campbell Brown, the only player to be sent to the sin bin during Ireland’s 45-44 win in the opening Test in Perth, has pledged that the Aussies “will not be doing anything that would put the series in jeopardy.”
One of Australia’s most experienced players, Campbell’s last quarter dismissal put pressure on his side who might well have edged out their visitors had he remained on the park.
Now he is predicting that Australia will not resort to unsavoury tactics tomorrow as they attempt to overturn last Friday’s result and perhaps clinch the series on scoring aggregate.
"We won’t be doing anything to jeopardise the series. Hopefully, we’ll go to Ireland next year and the series continues into the future. We know how much work the GAA and the AFL have put into getting it back on track," said Brown.
It was his full-frontal challenge on Ireland defender Finnian Hanley (Galway) that proved the only real blemish on a first Test that was by and large played in the most sporting manner.
Brown was immediately shown a yellow card for the offence and Australian manager Mick Malthouse somewhat surprisingly later questioned the punitive action taken by the referee.
Now GAA President Nickey Brennan and AFL chiefs are keeping their fingers crossed that tomorrow’s showdown will be played out in a similar spirit.
Ireland manager Sean Boylan has already hailed the attitude displayed by both teams a week ago and is urging a repetition of this tomorrow.
“I think that football was the real winner in the first Test and we are delighted about this. But we certainly won’t get complacent. We are only half-way there. We have a big mountain to climb tomorrow,” maintains Boylan.
Ireland referee Pat McEnaney has already come in for plaudits for his contribution to last Friday’s contest when his communication with the players was deemed by many observers to be first-class.
There were some reservations, though, that his Australian counterpart had shown an element of bias but the Irish players and management are unperturbed about this.
“We will be going out to win fair and square and we will put ourselves in the hands of the referees,” adds Boylan.