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Clarkson is left frustrated by a high error count

By Declan Bogue

Before Alastair Clarkson got involved in International Rules, the series was in danger of going into meltdown. So the Aussies sent their best man.

As manager of Hawthorn for the last three Premiership campaigns, he is the most successful of all the contemporary managers in his code. He led his country to a 56-46 victory last year in Paterson's Stadium, Perth, but he summed up the frustrations of travelling 12,000 miles for a 70-minute contest after seeing his side lose to Ireland.

"It's a long way to come. It's a long time to prepare for just one Test," he said. "But that's what needed to happen over the past couple of years while we try to re-integrate the series. I think the game was first class this year and two really good sides had a crack at each other.

"The hybrid version of the game has some appeal to it, and each side on their day had an opportunity to win."

He admitted that his side struggled with some of the fundamentals. And, of course, the shape of the ball is always going to be a factor.

"We played with a ball we are not used to. That was the area of the game that hurt us the most," admitted Clarkson.

"When the ball hit the ground, we gave it back to the Irish in our own half. We didn't give ourselves a chance to defend that ball. We tried our best to pull that back in the second-half, but we just couldn't get back in the end."

Clarkson answered the queries of the bemused Irish press, who were astonished to see the high line of the Australian rearguard.

"We play differently from what the Irish do. The Irish game is a big, flat back kind of game. We don't play our defence in that sort of manner, because we can't defend the goal the same as it will go straight over your head. We play a bit higher from time to time."

Harry Taylor, the winner of the Jim Stynes Medal as the best Australian, expressed his admiration of his opponents. He stated: "We don't take losing very well. But we are very respectful of the opposition. They played very well.

"They are amateur in name, but professional in the way they approach their sport.

"Their body shapes, they look first class. They move with great skill and they move the ball well. And although they are amateur, we see them as very professional in the way they prepared for the game."

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