AFL continuing to explore options in bid to stage Women’s International Rules test between Australia and Ireland

Aussie Rules game between Australian and Irish player a possibility being explored

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03: Jennifer Dunne of the Lions poses for a photo during the 2023 AFLW Grand Final match between The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos and The Brisbane Lions at IKON Park on December 03, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Dublin's Jennifer Dunne, an AFLW champion with Brisbane Lions, says she would love to see the the best women's and men's players from the GAA and AFL meet in an International Rules series (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The AFL is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to stage an inaugural International Rules women’s match between Australia and Ireland next year.

AFL CEO Andrew Dillion has today confirmed that there are two options being considered featuring the participation of Irish AFLW players.

One option on the table is for an Australia versus Ireland match under hybrid rules and another scenario is for Australian AFLW players to play an Australian Rules match against a team of Irish AFLW players (16-a-side).

There will be 35 Irish women on the books of AFLW clubs when the new season kicks-off during the men’s pre-finals bye at the end of August.

AFL planners believe this works in their favour despite the logistical difficulties of flying 10,000 miles across the other side of the world during the GAA season.

Irish players have adapted seamlessly to AFLW with Tipperary’s Orla O’Dwyer the standout having won two premierships with the Brisbane Lions and being named in the 2022 All-Australian side.

Last year O’Dwyer’s Brisbane teammate Jennifer Dunne won her first AFLW premiership just four months after winning an All-Ireland senior ladies’ football championship for Dublin.

“I’d love to see the best of the best playing in the men’s and women’s competition,” Dillon said.

“How that plays itself out is a conversation [worth having].

“I’d love to get the feedback from our players and from our clubs.

“It is something that I would really like to investigate.”

The men’s International Rules series began in 1984 but has not been played since 2017. Respected AFL journalists have recently reported that both Australian and Irish players are keen for the series to be resurrected.

“Players love it, because (they) get to mix and mingle and socialise in a relaxed setting,” AFL writer and broadcaster Jay Clark said.