27 February, 2024

Rattler heading to Ireland for International Rules

Brisbane Valley Rattlers footballer Paul Macknamara is gearing up to represent Australia in two international rules Test matches during a tour of Ireland.

By Liam Hauser

Paul Macknamara selected in Australian Masters squad.
Paul Macknamara selected in Australian Masters squad.

The AFL player from the Fernvale-based Rattlers was chosen in the Men’s 50s division in the AFL Masters International rules tour, which runs from March 6 to 17.

Paul earned selection after being named as players’ player for the Queensland Over 55 team in the AFL Masters National Carnival at Maroochydore back in October.

Three of Paul’s Queensland teammates also gained selection, along with players from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, while Brownlow Medallist and three-time Brisbane Lions premiership winner Jason Akermanis was chosen as the tour’s head coach.

Having never been to the United Kingdom before, Paul said he expected the Irish teams would be “extremely tough, playing in their country and conditions”, while temperatures were likely to range from 4 to 12 degrees during the day.

Another adjustment for the touring team will be the rules and playing style, as the sport (International Rules) is a combination of Gaelic and AFL football.

With composite rules, the sport will involve a round ball rather than an oval-shaped football, while there are AFL goal and point posts, as well as a net similar to soccer in between the goal posts.

With a background in tennis as well as AFL, Paul represented Australia in tennis at Over 40 level as he played in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Teams titles in Turkey back in 2015.

“(I’m) extremely excited and proud to be able to represent my country again,” Paul said after his selection for the Irish tour.

Originally from Victoria, Paul began his AFL career as a youngster.

He played for the Kyabram and Stanhope clubs, and racked up more than 250 senior appearances.

Paul captained Stanhope for a time and also won two best-and-fairest awards. In the representative scene, Paul played for the Heathcote and Kyabram leagues.

Paul hung up the boots at the age of 33, before moving to Queensland, and he hadn’t played AFL for about 20 years when the Rattlers formed a senior team in early 2022.

“I was only going to train with the Rattlers (in 2022) and had no intentions of playing again,” he said.

“But being the first year for a senior team they lacked numbers, so I pulled on the boots.”

Paul had an injury-plagued year in 2022 but then had a full pre-season for 2023, and he missed only one game.

With the Rattlers starting their 2024 pre-season games at the end of March, Paul is set to resume playing for the club after returning from the Irish tour.

Paul said he couldn’t do it without the support of his wife Amanda, a naturopath at Natura Sanat Naturopathy.

“She has designed a diet and supplements program to have me fit and healthy for the tour,” he said.


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