GEELONG champion Joel Selwood hasn’t taken long to find an Australian teammate he’s most impressed with.
In a star-studded line-up, you’d think it might be a name like Scott Pendlebury or Eddie Betts, or even Australian captain Shaun Burgoyne.
But it’s the youngest player on the team that has caught the eye of the six-time All Australian.
“I think one guy that for his age is super impressive is Zach Merrett,” Selwood told the Geelong Advertiser.
“Obviously he’s just turned 22 and he’s the youngest by a fair way — him and Chad Wingard.
“He’s just like a little sponge, he eats up footy, loves footy and he’s going to be a hell of a player.”
It’s the second time Selwood has had the opportunity to pull on the green and gold, having represented Australia in 2014 as national captain.
While that side featured the likes of Dustin Fletcher, Luke Hodge and Nick Riewoldt, Selwood believes this year’s team might be even better.
“We’ve put a really strong side together I think,” he said.
“I played in 2014 and that side was probably filled of stars to a degree. This one is similar, but probably more balanced to the game style we want to play.
“We’ve had a couple of runs so far; Thursday was pretty light with the group just getting together and a few boys have literally just got back from overseas holidays.”
While still learning how to play the Irish game, Selwood said Australia would be out to win the two-test series.
“I expect us to play better next Saturday than we do this Sunday, but we think we can put out a performance to really take it up to the Irish,” he said.
“I think it will be a competitive game, but these guys that we’re playing against, they call themselves amateurs but they spend a hell of a lot of time at their footy clubs in Ireland.
“We’re not going to take them lightly because they can seriously play the game. We’ll have our work cut out for us but it’s a challenge we’re all looking forward to.”
Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, with Zach Merrett looking over their shoulders. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)
And Selwood said he was relishing being pushed outside his comfort zone.
“It’s just a really good learning curve to be honest, take yourself out of your comfort zone of playing with an oval ball and now we’re playing with a round one and trying to work out new rules and a little bit of game style stuff,” he said.
“It’s difficult; it’s one hell of an advantage they’ve got against us and we’ve just got to try and take it off them by keeping the ball in our hands.”