Ireland delivered a ‘wake up call’ to Australia’s professional players in the International Rules series, several of whom were ‘found out’ for a lack of effort.
That is the damning assessment of manager Michael O’Loughlin who is resigned to being without superstar Lance Franklin for the second test.
Franklin kicked six points for Australia and was one of the few who impressed throughout in a 57 — 35 defeat in Cavan. However, the Sydney Swans player is expected to fly home for a wedding, robbing O’Loughlin of a key player.
O’Loughlin said Franklin, who recently penned a $10m AFL contract, was one of the few who enhanced his reputation in the 57-35 defeat.
“I was really disappointed with our efforts,” said O’Loughlin. “Our ability to apply pressure was non-existent in the first-half and for a team that prides itself on being able to chase and tackle and be an unrelenting presence out there, it was disappointing and that’s the harsh reality.
Our guys got a real big wake-up call. Some guys got found out, that their efforts and pressure needs to be at a higher standard than what it is. I thought some guys individually were really holding the team together.”
Asked if it’s an unassailable deficit, O’Loughlin conceded it’s a difficult task. “It’s going to be really, really tough now but stranger things have happened,” he added. “We’ll go back to the drawing board a little bit and review the tape. It’s amazing, we trained so well and knew what we were doing but I think a few guys got a bit overawed with the occasion. That’s disappointing.
“Again, I can cope with the skill areas and it is a new game, guys are getting confused where they need to be and what not, but one thing I won’t compromise on is the effort and intensity. That’s a really big one that I’ll address over the course of the week.”