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Crowley wants Ireland to play their own game

Ireland International Rules Squad Training

Ireland International Rules Squad Training

Peter Crowley admits Ireland struggled to cope with Australia’s tactics in the first test of the International Rules series last weekend.

Their unorthodox formation in attack was a problem the Irish defence never quite solved, but Kerry stalwart Crowley believes important lessons have been learned ahead of Saturday’s second test.

“It was tough. No matter all the training we do, we're still playing Gaelic Football to a certain extent, just with the mark,” said Crowley.

“It's hard to recreate the way they play and the way they set up in the full-forward line where they just bunch five around the '20.

“If you're a half-back you're not really playing as a traditional half-back, so there was good learning that way and something we'll take into Sunday.”

The tackle has been the main aspect of the compromise code that Ireland have traditionally struggled with in the past, but Crowley doesn’t think that was the team’s critical issue last weekend.

“I don't think the tackle itself was the problem, it was more trying to anticipate when the tackle was coming,” he said.

“We veered away from our traditional game a small bit in so far as maybe fellas were anticipating every time they got the ball they were going to get nailed in five seconds and that wasn't maybe really the reality.

“So that's maybe something else that we couldn't really recreate because we don't really have the same intensity as the Australians do when it comes to that. Again, that's something we'll learn for going into the second-test.

Ireland trail by 10 points after the first leg but Crowley is confident they’re good enough to close the gap as long as trust their instincts as Gaelic Footballers and play their own game rather than try to beat Australia at theirs.

“I think we just need to get back a bit to our own game,” he said. “We have the round ball and it is a major advantage, I don't think we used that as much as we could have the last day, I think we played it a bit more on their terms.

“It's kind of the nature of any game, the same as it is at home, you want to play your own game. I think we just need to focus on our own fundamentals and make sure we execute those properly.

“It's not beyond us, there's only a goal and a point in it.”