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Tour of Ireland unites great rivals

ALTHOUGH their teams were to slug it out at ANZ Stadium tonight in a crucial battle for top-four finishing places, star Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin and Swans champion Adam Goodes were unveiled as teammates yesterday.

They were among 33 of the country's top indigenous players named in the squad to tour Ireland for the International Rules series in October.

Franklin said he was confident all the players named would make themselves available for the two-game tour.

"It's going to be an unbelievable experience. It's something we'll never forget," he said.

"The AFL's really backed us in terms of this tour, so we're looking forward to getting over to Ireland."

Scandal-hit Essendon had the most representation. Bombers ruckman Paddy Ryder has been included alongside teammates Courtenay Dempsey, Alwyn Davey, Leroy Jetta and Nathan Lovett-Murray in the squad, which will be trimmed to 21 after the AFL grand final.

Melbourne's Aaron Davey - the older brother of Alwyn - was included in the squad despite announcing his retirement last week.