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Sheedy calls to keep full tackle

FORMER Australian international rules coach Kevin Sheedy has said the full-bodied tackle should not be removed for the hybrid game.

The presence of the tackle, which is part of Aussie rules but not Gaelic football, has been the source of much debate over the years, with some calling for it to be abolished to avoid the violent scenes which have marred previous series.

Sheedy said there was no need for changes to the rules and that "foolishness" was to blame for skirmishes.

"I think it's just been foolishness, like Chris Johnson (series 2005) in Melbourne, but when Danyle Pearce tackled the Irish player (Graham Geraghty) and his head hit the ground that was an accident," Sheedy said.

The former Essendon coach and new boss of the AFL's newest franchise Greater Western Sydney said that physicality was part and parcel of both codes. Sheedy was coach in 2006 when on-field indiscretions caused the GAA to pull the plug on the series. It resumed in 2008 but the AFL withdrew for the 2009 tests due to financial reasons.

"I've seen tough games of Gaelic footy. Brawls have happened, but when it's Irish players against Irish players nobody complains.

"But when it's against the Australians, there are complaints. So don't try and pull the wool over our eyes," he quipped.

However despite the game's troubles over the years, the legendary AFL coach is delighted that the series is going ahead in 2010.

"Last time we were in Croke Park it was sensational. I've had three or four highlights in my life and coaching my country was one of them. All of the coaches and players involved in the tour felt the same."