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AFL final replay compromises Australia's Rules build-up

THE AFL'S first drawn Grand Final since 1977 has thrown Australia's International Rules series preparations into disarray.

Collingwood and St Kilda fought out only the third drawn Grand Final in AFL/VFL history in front of 100,016 fans at the MCG on Saturday to not only force a replay this weekend but also the postponement of Australia's team announcement and training sessions for the series.

While an extended Irish squad has been training for weeks, the Australians have yet to assemble and the squad has yet to be picked as Aussie coach Mick Malthouse is busy preparing his Collingwood side for the Grand Final replay. The squad had been due to be announced tomorrow.

"Everything has been put back a week," AFL spokesperson Patrick Keane said. "We have to wait until after the replay until we get medical clearance on the players at St Kilda and Collingwood."

Keane said that assistant coaches to Malthouse Glen Jakovich and Matthew Lappin had not even had informal training sessions with an extended group of players while waiting for the Pies boss to be freed from his Grand Final duties. "Mick's the coach so he has the final say (on what players are picked) so there's no point doing anything until after the final," said Keane.

Despite the delay in finalising the squad and beginning training sessions, the Australian's travel plans will not be affected. They depart for Limerick on October 16th. The first test is at the Gaelic Grounds on October 23rd with the second and concluding test at Croke Park a week later.


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