The rollercoaster ride known as Israel Folau’s career has taken another acute turn with news trickling out of Sydney that Folau could be a New South Wales Waratah by mid-week.
Two questions immediately come to mind:
– Have the Parramatta Eels really lost out?
– Why would the Waratahs want another mercenary playing the game purely for financial gain?
Eels coach Ricky Stuart wears his heart on his sleeve and was rightfully dirty on Folau and his decision to back out on a deal with Parramatta.
“I’d rather know today about the dishonourable characteristics of Israel than pay him all the money that we tried to secure over the past eight weeks, then find out about the way he operates,” Stuart told The Sunday Telegraph.
“I know it’s an easy throwaway line, but success is built on culture and our club is plus one in culture by not having Israel.”
With these strong words, Parramatta have lost out on Folau but gained something just as important. Stuart has put pride back into his new club without officially coaching a game.
Rugby league is the great survivor. Time after time individuals have tried to hurt the game we love.
Rugby league has been slugged in the jaw more times than Rocky Balboa. But just like Rocky, rugby league gets back up. Folau has thrown his right hook and missed by plenty.
Despite knowing full well what they’re getting themselves into, the Waratahs are reportedly on the verge of capturing Folau’s signature.
Do Wendell Sailor or Lote Tuqiri ring a bell?
You can’t question Sailor or Tuqiri’s application in the 15-man game. They took the money offered to them and tried their best. But upon returning to the National Rugby League both admitted to catching influenza while watching all those scrums and line-outs.
Even Mark Gasnier took the quick cash in Europe before returning to the NRL as quickly as humanly possible.
Folau recently quit the AFL and openly admitted he wanted to play at Parramatta with his mates. If rugby union is his third option, why would the Waratahs want him?
How much is Folau going to really give them?
Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen hinted to The Sunday Telegraph Folau was an option in 2013.
“We’re always interested in quality players and we do have a large portion of our roster off contract in 2014, so we’re talking to a number of agents on a regular basis,” Allen said.
“Beyond that, our policy is that we don’t make public comment about individual contracts.”
Parramatta may have just dodged a bullet.