Former Kerry footballer and Sydney Swans player Tadhg Kennelly has played down the controversy surrounding the heavy hits in Saturday’s International Rules game between Ireland and Australia.

After the second Test in Perth Ireland manager Joe Kernan heavily criticised the performance of the two match referees. 

The game was refereed by Laois man Maurice Deegan and Australian Matt Stevic. Ireland came up short losing 53-50 to lose the series by 13 points on aggregate.

"Michael Murphy was hit by everything bar the chairs in the stand today and I don’t think he got a free inside 21 yards," Kernan told RTÉ Sport after the game.

However Kennelly, who has taken up a coaching role with Sydney Swans, didn’t share Kernan’s concerns.

"It’s a bit of a different understanding in the game plan and the rules and what is acceptable in Ireland and what is acceptable in Australia," Kennelly told the Sydney Swans' website.

Referring to the hit by Joel Selwood on Chris Barrett he said: "In Ireland when you hand pass the ball you don’t really get any contact, in our game when you hand pass the ball you brace yourself because there might be contact coming.

"It’s just a misunderstanding I didn’t think there was a whole lot... I thought the spirit of the game was fantastic and the the competitiveness of both teams was A1."

Australia won the two Tests and the series has been heralded a success from an entertainment and quality point of view. It’s expected to be played in America next year a move Kennelly would welcome this move.

"The concept looked like it really took off, the two games were as good a contest as you have seen. I played in six of them; I’ve been involved in a lot of them. They were probably the best two games in the concept," he said.

"Everyone talks about it going to America next year and then on to Ireland, as long as you get the best players playing in both codes the concept is going to work.

"The players have spoken already about playing it, they have put their hands up and are saying you know what I want to play this concept and the better players are putting their hands up.

"We don’t do it as an international sport but it's great to get an opportunity to work with people that you play against and learn from them.

"You have seen the (Nat) Ffye and (Patrick) Dangerfield swapping forward, midfield, these type of combinations on the ground is incredible.

"I’m obviously an international footballer and taking the game international is a component that I think we need and I think that’s something that the AFL look like they are going to do."

Kennelly, who played 197 games for the Swan's and won the premiership with them in 2005, has recently returned to the Sydney club as a development coach.

"It’s quiet exciting, it’s strange in a way for people to understand that an Irish man is teaching Australian people to play the game of AFL football.

"But I’m quite passionate about the game and I’ve done a great apprenticeship for a long period of time I'll see if I can offer some value to the development department that we have got."