Bernard Brogan is one of Gaelic football’s biggest stars and has won all the prizes on offer in the game but says that pitting himself against the best AFL athletes on an international stage is still a huge honour.
The Dublin forward will captain the International Rules side when Australia come to Croke Park next month and says that he takes a massive amount of pride in wearing the green jersey.
The 2010 Footballer of the Year and his Ireland team-mates have been looking on with admiration as the soccer and rugby teams played all over the world.
“To wear the green of your country and to represent your country is not an honour that GAA people have very often,” Brogan told RTÉ Sport.
“We’re mad sports fans and we watch the Irish soccer team and, in recent years, the rugby team do amazing things, representing their country and their parish and their family.
“For us to be able to put on the green jerseys that they wear with such pride, you see the national anthems and the emotion, we’d just love to have that feeling and that opportunity.”
The series, once again being played on a one-Test basis, has come in for fierce criticism.
"There was kind of a falling out of love for some people for a period. I think the one Test will help to bring people across"
A lot of that criticism has been justified as the GAA and the AFL struggled to find the right balance between the codes.
One year it’s too physical, next it’s too tame; the rules favour the Irish too much but the Aussies are professional athletes. It’s not easy to find the perfect mix.
However, after a disastrous renewal in 2013, the series got a boost last year when the AFL picked an elite squad containing only players chosen as All-Australian (All Stars) at some point in their career.
They recorded a 56-46 win in Perth and have once again picked an elite panel to help retain the Cormac McAnallen Cup.
Brogan, who played in the series five years ago, is looking forward to testing himself against the professionals and is glad that they are sending their best.
“The players love it. There was kind of a falling out of love for some people for a period. I think the one Test will help to bring people across," he said.
“If you have two Tests it’s a three-week trip and for professional athletes or us who have jobs it’s very hard to commit to that time frame.
"Whereas when you have one game, you do it in a week or ten days and it doesn't encroach in your diary as much.
“The Aussies are showing [that] with calibre of players they’re bringing over here.”
Manager Joe Kernan will announce his final squad early next month.
Ireland play Australia in Croke Park on 21 November, throw-in 7pm, live on RTÉ2.