Duffy announces agreement on intention to hold further series in 2013 and '14

Sat, Nov 5, 2011, 00:00

THE IMMEDIATE future of International Rules has been secured with agreement that there will be further series in 2013 and 2014 subject to the agreement of the GAA’s Central Council. The outcome was announced by director general Páraic Duffy after a meeting with AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou here in Gold Coast.

“He (Demetriou) said the players do want to play in it,” according to Duffy. “We have agreed that we going to play it for a further two years. He says they are absolutely committed to it and I would accept his word on that. It is going to go ahead. We need to get Central Council approval on that but we will get that.”

Australia are now scheduled to visit Ireland in two years’ time with the GAA sending a team back 12 months later.

One of the big issues with this year’s disappointing series has been dwindling public interest in Australia, a process accelerated by what has been seen as very low-key selection by the home side which boasts very few well known AFL players.

Last week’s first Test in Melbourne drew 20,000 fewer than the last series in 2008 and yesterday’s poor attendance in Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium meant that the total for the two tests was little more than 30,000, little bigger than the worst attended series in 1990. According to Duffy, his opposite number said there had been a few reasons for the poor turn-out.

“He said there were a number of things . . their season was longer than usual this year . . there was a certain element of fatigue due to their games. They put it back a week and that didn’t help. They should have played the first Test here (Gold Coast) and the second game in Melbourne,” said Duffy.

“With the Rugby World Cup and the Melbourne Cup they found it very hard to get their voices heard. They spent the same amount on promotion as they did in previous years. They followed the same model of promotion. He accepted the big name players, like Gary Ablett and Adam Goodes were missing and he said that was a huge factor in terms of promoting the series . . .

“I am certain that the next time we come here we will not have the same problems that we had this time.”