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Brendon Goddard handed Australia goalkeeper jersey for first Test

Dustin Fletcher misses out for Adelaide match after long run between the sticks

Goalkeeper Brendon Goddard during Australia’s training session in Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Photograph: James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images

As Sunday’s first Test draws closer, both Ireland and Australia teams arrived in Adelaide on Thursday. The major training sessions will be on Friday but Australia were put through their paces at Richmond Oval for the first time and one of the major issues for the AFL team was resolved when it was announced that Brendon Goddard would keep goal for the home team in this year’s series.

He takes over from the AFL’s most famous goalkeeper, Dustin Fletcher, whose final Test was in Croke Park two years ago and who had been in goal for five of the last eight series.

Goddard had been expected to be handed the role. Speaking to the media on Thursday, he was a little apprehensive. “It’s something a little bit foreign to me, with Fletch being the number one goalie for a couple of years. I don’t quite have the Gadget-like reach that Fletch’s had in the past.”

He also raised what has become a common theme of Australian comments in the lead-up to the first Test, their players’ physical advantages.

“It does get a little bit heated and the Irish are very good at niggling and we have taken it a step too far in recent history,” he said. “One of our advantages is being physical, as they don’t have that in their game, while they have the skills with the round ball. But we do need to try and influence the game with our physicality.”