SYDNEY SWANS coach Paul Roos has called for the removal of the the full-bodied tackle from International Rules in a bid to avoid altercations during games.
The GAA pulled the plug on the series in 2007 after violent scenes marred games in 2006. Before the resumption of the hybrid game in 2008, changes were made to the rules stating that although a player could perform a full-bodied tackle, slinging their opponent to the ground was not permitted. However, Roos believes that the tackle should be completely eliminated if the series is to continue to avoid widespread melees.
"If you want to stop altercations that's the obvious way to do it," Roos said. "If you don't want fisticuffs take the tackle out. If they're serious about doing that, that's what they need to do."
Roos said players' different perceptions of what physical contact means was to blame for past International Rules conflicts.
"If you're not used to physical contact, the (full-bodied) tackle feels like a personal attack on your manhood or something. The Irish are not used to it so it's a shock and they think 'Was that person having a go at me?' It's a different mentality in the two countries. I don't blame either country for that."
Roos insisted that keeping the series alive was much more important than preserving the tackle used in Australian Rules. This year's games are scheduled for October 23 at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick and October 30 in Croke Park. "What you want is a game that both countries want to play and a good relationship between the two. If you don't have two countries willing to play, you don't have a series."
When asked if the removal of the tackle would make the hybrid series too big of a departure from Australian Rules, Roos said the game is already more similar to Gaelic football.
"Sure it would make it harder for us to win but we already play with the round ball anyway and it's bloody hard to kick," he laughed. Roos was so enamoured with Gaelic football when he visited Croke Park to watch Tadhg Kennelly in the All-Ireland SFC final, that he would be in favour of the series being much more of a 'Gaelic version'.
"We should just player a more Gaelic version of the game. The All-Ireland was so good to watch. It was a running, exhausting game with little physical contact."
Meanwhile, Tadhg Kennelly played a starring role for the Swans in just his second competitive run out for the club in the quarter-final of the pre-season NAB Cup tournament. The Swans lost by a point to Tommy Walsh's new club St Kilda. Kennelly played just one half with the club eager to keep him fresh for the season proper.
His fellow Kerry man Tommy Walsh has yet to make his debut and was not named in the extended squad despite being announced as a possible starter the week before. Having missed Carlton's NAB cup loss to the Swans last weekend, Setanta ó hAilpín made his 2010 competitive debut in a NAB challenge against the Brisbane Lions. The Blues beat Pearce Hanley's Lions by 13 points with ó hAilpín kicked a goal during the win.