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Aussies wary of idle Walsh

AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL Rules coach Rodney Eade has said his side will focus on Ireland's AFL contingent in the upcoming tests in Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

The Irish squad has several AFL stars with recently retired Tadhg Kennelly and Brisbane Lions Pearce Hanley leading the Australia-based group.

However, it's a player that has yet to make his senior debut that Eade is most wary of.

The coach admitted he was surprised that new Sydney Swans signing Tommy Walsh didn't make his debut at St Kilda.

"Tommy Walsh is a talented player and I was quite surprised that he didn't play (senior football) this year," Eade said.

"He had a really good season and is an athletic player, which we also saw when he played Gaelic football."

Despite impressing for St Kilda's reserves and being named in the side's best performers on a regular basis as well as being named as an emergency on several occasions, Walsh was overlooked by former coach Ross Lyon, a factor that must have heavily contributed to his move to the Harbour City.

Although the Australian coach is wary of the strength of AFL input in the Irish side, Eade said there was a benefit to their inclusion.

"It's positive in a way because we know a bit about them. We'll definitely be making sure they're tagged."

Since being sacked as coach by the Western Bulldogs, Eade has taken the role of Director of coaching at Martin Clarke's Collingwood.

He will have no fewer than three Irish players under his tutelage. Kildare's Paul Cribbin has already completed a season with the Pies and Down's Caolan Mooney has already started training with the Grand finalists. The Pies secured a deal to get Clarke back to the club during last week's trade period.

"I'm really excited that Martin Clarke is coming back because he really impressed me when he was here," said Eade.

"For Irish players to come to the other side of the world is really very courageous."