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Belfast Redbacks to take on USA in Aussie Rules clash

Andy Watters

AUSTRALIAN Rules outfit the Belfast Redbacks take on the touring USA international team at Mallusk playing fields tomorrow evening (July 31) at 7pm.

The Redbacks, who have gone through this season undefeated to make it to the final of the four-team All-Ireland League which also includes teams from Dublin, Cork and Galway, is made up by Australian ex-pats and Irish-born former GAA and/or rugby players.

Down Allstar Marty Clarke has lined out for the side in the past and former Mourne county goalkeeper Declan Alder, Antrim midfielder Gerard Walls (an Ireland Aussie Rules international) and one-time Tyrone U21 star Paul Brogan will all be in action against the USA on Sunday.

The USA tour is part of their preparation for the 2020 Aussie Rules World Cup and Australia native Dean Skinner – now resident in Ballymacnab, county Armagh – will be part of the Redbacks' line-up on Tuesday.

He explained how the Belfast outfit got the opportunity to take on the USA.

“The USA played the Irish Warriors (the Irish national team) yesterday and next Saturday and in between they're travelling up to play us,” he said.

“It's so strange for an international team to be playing a club team, so it's a bit of a David-v-Goliath situation but it's good for us because we need more exposure to help the guys develop and get them going.

“The Aussie Rules is good for people who enjoy old-school sport – there are no drink bans and you're not kicked off the team if you can't make training.

“It's very much what sport used to be like and that's what appeals to some of the guys. If there's anyone who's interested in getting involved, we're always interested in getting new players.”

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