International Rules: IT'S MISSION IMPOSSIBLE; LIFE DOWN UNDER: INTERNATIONAL RULES - CORMAC McANALLEN TROPHY Battered Ireland in Need of a Melbourne Miracle
Byline: From JACKIE EPSTEIN in Perth
IRELAND have all but conceded the series, but more homework could help salvage something from a disastrous International Rules campaign.
Shell-shocked by an unknown Australian team in game one, the Irish paid a heavy price for a lack of research.
Coach Pete McGrath admitted he had not watched the opposition train, preferring to simply back his team to win.
It was a plan that totally backfired as the Australians, who incredibly went into the game as underdogs, produced their greatest ever victory over Ireland.
They also kicked their highest score in the history of the competition, a 2.27.7 (100) to 3.11.13 (64) scoreline embarrassing the highly fancied holders in front of nearly 40,000 fans at Subiaco Oval in Perth.
Game two at Telstra Dome in Melbourne this Friday night may well be a closer affair if the Irish take a leaf out of Australia's book.
Hand-picked for the first time to suit the hybrid game, the Australians were too quick and skilful.
They played on and carried the ball at every opportunity, beating the Irish at their own game.
Previously selection had been based on the All-Australian team, which was often more suited to the slower pace of Australian Rules.
Coach Kevin Sheedy built a game plan around tight defence and daring run which had the Irish reeling after the opening minutes.
McGrath cut a despondent figure in the coach's box and after the game said changes would need to be made to ensure the future of the series is not jeopardised.
He admitted: "We have to re-think the next week.
"Obviously whoever is in charge of the team for next year will have to be cognisant of what happened here on Friday. It obviously puts us back on our backsides and Australia's athleticism, their power, their ability to kick the ball was probably beyond what we expected it would be. …