INDIGENOUS All Stars coach Michael O’Loughlin was left feeling sick in the stomach after his team suffered a record 79-point loss to Ireland in the second international rules Test in Dublin.
Australia were embarrassed 116-37 at Croke Park on Saturday night, resulting in the biggest series defeat ever, with the all-indigenous team going down 173-72 on aggregate.
“As a coach I’m a bit ill, I’m a bit sick,” O’Loughlin said after the loss.
“It’s really hurt me to the core in terms of some of our efforts. This is as flat as I’ve ever been.”
The All Stars promised to be hard and tough in the second Test and while there was some push and shove before the siren, that simply resulted in a free kick to Ireland.
Another free within 30 seconds gifted the host’s the opening over.
West Coast’s Sharrod Wellingham booted an over for the All Stars to level at 3-3 but that was as close as it would get.
Ireland’s class kicked in as Australia again struggled to control the round ball off the boot and turned it over far too easily.
Conor McManus scored the first goal of the match for Ireland before North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas cleaned up Colm Boyle with a heavy front-on bump.
The 27-year-old was stretchered off the ground as the 28,000-strong crowd jeered.
Jack McCaffrey soon snared another six-pointer and Ireland went into the first break leading 27-8 with the series pretty much in the bag.
It wasn’t until the last quarter that Adelaide recruit Eddie Betts scored the All Stars’ first goal with a handball into the back of the net before Jake Neade drove home another six-pointer off the boot.
But it too little too late and Ireland won 6.22.14 (116) to 2.7.4 (37).
A fuming O’Loughlin said Australia had a simple strategy “but some guys aren’t able to follow instructions”.
The All Stars’ decision-making was terrible with players constantly kicking the ball when the plan had been to utilise their hands and leg speed, he said.
Some panicked while others simply refused to do the hard yards.
O’Loughlin said the coaching staff had done all they could to get the team up.
“Everything was prepared and done to a really high standard but if you haven’t got the cattle on the park it’s really difficult,” he said.
“We just didn’t have a team that could compete with the experts.”
The All Stars squad was selected from the 80 indigenous players in the AFL.
But Adam Goodes was ruled out through injury and Lance Franklin returned to Australia after the first Test to attend former teammate Brent Guerra’s wedding.
Other notable absentees included star Hawthorn duo Shaun Burgoyne and Cyril Rioli.
“We started so well but in the end it was probably all huff and puff,” said O’Loughlin.
“These players are going to have to face the music when they get back home.”
Ireland has now won nine series to Australia’s eight. They lead the Test tally 20 to 16.
The future of the competition remains in doubt with AFL football operations manager Mark Evans on Friday refusing to guarantee Australia would host Ireland in 2014.