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Simpson stars as Aussies take series lead

Lee Gaskin for AFL.com.au  November 12, 2017 7:20 PM

The Journey | S2E7 Season 2 | Episode 7. In the final episode of Season 2 of The Journey, go behind-the-scenes as Carlton wrap up the 2017 season.

AUSTRALIA has one hand on reclaiming the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after a gripping 10-point victory against Ireland in the first Test of the Virgin Australia International Rules Series at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

The hosts had to withstand a gallant fightback from the Irish in the last quarter to hang on 2.13.12 (63) to 1.13.8 (53).

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe was Australia's most dangerous forward, kicking a goal and three overs, while rookie goalkeeper Brendon Goddard was outstanding in his first game donning the gloves.

Ireland vice-captain Conor McManus was simply unstoppable, booting a game-high seven overs, while Michael Murphy scored a goal and four overs.

But in the end, the Irish were unable to find other avenues to goal and were unable to contain Australia's speed across the ground.

The only injury concern for Australia was Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, who didn't play in the second half after suffering a suspected finger injury.

Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was a scratching from the Australian side with an ankle injury, while Ireland were without forwards Niall Murphy (Sligo) and Enda Smith (Roscommon).

Selwood is expected to be available for the second Test at Perth's Domain Stadium next Saturday.

Trailing by 10 points early in the second quarter, Australia booted four overs in a row to take a one-point advantage into half-time - 0.7.7 (28) to 1.6.3 (27).

Goddard made a strong fist of his first time with the gloves.

Simpson Aus Image
Kade Simpson celebrates with Australian teammates Dayne Zorko and Nat Fyfe. (Photo: AFL Photos)

The Essendon veteran charged out of his goals to stop a certain Ireland goal in the third quarter and played a sweeper's role at the back.

The most spectacular play of the game came when Fyfe rocketed with the ball past the outstretched hand of Irish 'keeper Niall Morgan and into the back of the net, with the help of the left-hand goal post.

Australia held a handy 15-point lead at the final change, but three straight overs to Murphy, McManus and Paul Geaney closed the gap to just seven points.

But West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey sealed the game with a tap-in for a goal in the fourth quarter, on the same ground where he ended Port Adelaide's season in an epic extra-time elimination final in September.

Chad Wingard was prominent early in the game, kicking two overs in the opening quarter and taking a spectacular one-handed grab.

It was the first clash between the two countries since 2015, when Ireland won a one-off clash in Dublin.

AUSTRALIA     0.3.5    0.7.7    1.12.8  2.13.12 (63)
IRELAND         0.4.3    1.6.3    1.8.5    1.13.8 (53)

GOALS
Australia:
Fyfe, Shuey
Ireland:
M.Murphy

OVERS
Australia:
Fyfe 3, Wingard 2, Brown 2, Dangerfield, Zorko, Simpson, Betts, Ryder
Ireland:
McManus 7, M.Murphy 4, Sweeney, Geaney

BEST
Australia:
Fyfe, Goddard, Dangerfield, Wingard, Simpson, Shuey
Ireland:
McManus, M. Murphy, Tuohy, O'Shea 

INJURIES
Australia:
Pendlebury (finger)
Ireland:
Nil

Reports: Nil

Referees: Matt Stevic (Australia), Maurice Deegan (Ireland)

Official crowd: 25,502 at Adelaide Oval