Jim Stynes named in Australia’s all-time international rules selection
Dubliner represented both Australia and Ireland at international level
Jim Stynes at an Australia training session ahead of the International Compromise Rules Test against Ireland at Croke Park in October 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho
The late Jim Stynes has been named on a best Australian international rules team selected from all of the official Tests played since international rules was placed on a formal footing in the GAA’s Centenary Year, 1984. The original series, which began 50 years ago, is also recognised with the inclusion of Barry Davis from the first team in 1967.
Stynes actually played for both sides during his career, representing Ireland in the 1990 series in Australia, having made his debut with the AFL team that played in Dublin in 1987.
Although for most his career – the most successful of any Irish export to the Rules game and still the only one crowned by a Brownlow medal – the international series was in abeyance, the big Dubliner played one more time in the first year of the resumed series, in 1998.
In fact he was so influential in that year’s first Test, won narrowly by the visitors 62-61, that then Ireland coach Colm O’Rourke created a major stir by calling on Stynes to be allowed play for Ireland in the second match. That didn’t happen but Ireland did enough to win the series on aggregate with a 67-56 win.
Stynes remained involved with the international game, acting as a selector with Australia over several years before his death from cancer in March 2012 at the age of 45.
The all-time selection was made by Kevin Sheahan, who has over 30 years of experience of the international game and has been the AFL’s long-time representative on the technical group that monitors and reviews the rules.
From an Irish perspective there is maybe controversy in the choice of Chris Johnson as one of the interchange players – in the AFL there isn’t the same emphasis paid to starting matches as players are rotated constantly.
He had an immensely successful football career and captained Australia in the 2005 international series. Unfortunately though that is best remembered for the awful clothesline tackle he put in on Tyrone’s Philip Jordan before thumping Matty Forde from Wexford and getting sent off. A subsequent suspension of five matches ended his international career.
His manager from 2005, Kevin Sheedy, is also named as an assistant coach – something that will also raise eyebrows in Ireland. Sheedy played in one of the early unofficial internationals and actually broke his leg in Croke Park in 1978. He went on to be a legendary coach in the AFL, eventually taking the international team in 2005 and 2006.
On the one hand he produced a team and devised tactics that revolutionised Australian involvement. The first Test in 2005 was in the eyes of many the best display ever produced in the series and the first time 100 points had ever been scored.
Against that, he had a reckless attitude to violence on the pitch and not content with their superiority on the scoreboard, his teams both years indulged in outrageous behaviour from which the series has never really recovered.
ALL-TIME AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL RULES SELECTION
Dustin Fletcher (Essendon), 2005, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2015
Chris Johnson (Brisbane Lions), 2002, 2003 2005
Danny Frawley (St Kilda), 1987, 1990
Craig Bradley (Carlton), 1984, 2000, 2001, 2002
Barry Davis (Essendon/North Melbourne), 1967
Paul Roos (Fitzroy/Sydney Swans), 1986, 1987
Andrew McLeod (Adelaide), 2000, 2001, 2005
Jim Stynes (Melbourne), 1987, 1998
Nathan Buckley (Brisbane Bears/Collingwood), 1998, 1999
Nathan Brown (Western Bulldogs/Richmond), 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004
Barry Hall (St Kilda/Sydney Swans/Western Bulldogs), 2003, 2006
Tony McGuinness (Western Bulldogs/Adelaide) , 1986, 1987, 1990
Brent Harvey (North Melbourne), 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2014
Matthew Lloyd (Essendon), 1998, 2001
Shane Crawford (Hawthorn), 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003
Gerard Healy (Melbourne/Sydney Swans), 1984, 1986
Robert DiPierdomenico (Hawthorn), 1984, 1986
James Hird (Essendon), 2000, 2004
Adam Goodes (Sydney Swans), 2001, 2010
Robert Flower (Melbourne), 1978, 1984
Terry Daniher (South Melbourne/Essendon), 1984, 1986, 1990
Ryan O’Keefe (Sydney Swans), 2005, 2006
Maurice Rioli (Richmond), 1984, 1986
Ron Barassi (Melbourne/Carlton/North Melbourne/Sydney Swans), 1967, 1968
Neil Kerley (West Adelaide/South Adelaide/Glenelg), 1968 (player); 1987 (coach)
Kevin Sheedy (Richmond/Essendon/GWS), 1978 (player); 2005, 2006 (coach)