Australians bemused by 'tongue-tied' Irish captain
STEPHEN CLUXTON'S pre-announced 'no show' for yesterday's eve-of-first-Test International Rules press conference was greeted with polite indifference by the Australians, even if they were clearly bemused by the concept of a non-speaking captain.
In Cluxton's absence, Ireland vice-captain Ciaran McKeever attended the press conference at the Etihad Stadium, accompanied by team manager Anthony Tohill.
McKeever acquitted himself well, even if he must have been wondering why it was his responsibility to carry out media duties.
No reference was made to the Cluxton issue until near the end of the gathering, when Australian captain Brad Green was asked if he was surprised by the absence of his Irish counterpart.
Obviously not wishing to say anything out of turn, Green mentioned something vague about different players attending media conferences before Australian coach Rodney Eade chipped in.
"Very quiet man, Stephen, isn't he," said a smiling Eade.
Later, under the heading 'Tongue Tied', an article on the AFL's official website noted: "The Irish have picked as their captain for a series 15,582km from home a man who doesn't like flying and who, in the words of one Irish reporter, doesn't do media.
"Obviously, the skipper's lack of talking is a big talking point among the travelling media -- as it is at home."
The article went on to explain the background to Cluxton's policy of silence, a concept which the Australians find very difficult to understand.
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