Folau a fish back in water

By David Beniuk,

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    Israel Folau contemplates his future during his final appearance in GWS Giants colours (Image: Slattery)

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    Israel Folau has declared himself a fish back in water after starring in his debut for the NSW Waratahs in a Super Rugby trial.

    The former rugby league international and short-term AFL player bagged two tries, had a hand in another and was even yellow-carded in an eventful 24-16 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Hobart.

    After two years trying to find his feet with AFL’s Greater Western Sydney, Folau said he felt right in his third professional football code.

    “I felt really comfortable to be quite honest,” he told reporters at North Hobart Oval.

    “It’s like I never left a game like rugby.

    “I felt really relaxed throughout the day and that’s the way I felt coming into the game.”

    Asked if he’d missed that feeling of dominating a game, he said: “I’ve missed it for two years.”

    Starting at fullback, Folau reaped the rewards of Waratahs coach Michael Cheika’s new attacking brand of rugby.

    He was rarely called to kick and announced himself to the rugby world when he swerved to beat three defenders in just the 12th minute.

    The celebration said plenty with the former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos star punching the air with delight before being embraced by his new teammates.

    Folau repeated the dose with the last play of the match, beating two to cross in the left corner while playing outside centre.

    He might have had a third try in the 34th minute but unselfishly offloaded for winger Cam Crawford when he could easily have crossed himself.

    “That last try I just found myself in the right spot at the right time,” he said.

    “I think today I can learn a lot from the game and there’s certainly a long way to go in terms of learning a few things in both attack and defence.”

    Cheika was delighted with the performance of his new star, who also spent time on both wings.

    “Positionally (at fullback) he was probably in much better sync than I thought he might be,” Cheika said.

    “Obviously his natural talent showed on a couple of occasions very well and I think he looked pretty comfortable really.

    “All he has to do is enjoy himself and make our team and his talent will do the rest from there.”

    Folau was yellow-carded in the 54th minute and admitted he’d understood little about his breakdown offence.

    “I was a bit confused but once I got off and the boys explained it,” he said.

    Compounding the four tries to two loss for the Rebels was a suspected fracture to Cooper Vuna’s right shoulder blade.

    “With our top side I thought we were competitive but those young blokes, they’ll learn from that and the experience will be good for them,” assistant coach John Muggleton said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (110)

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 2:49am
      Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 2:49am | ! Report

      Good to hear he played well but a trials match is not the best test. Lets just wait until the pressure starts before we judge him.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:51pm
        Roarer said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

        You can already sense England licking their lips. Probably sorting out a visa for him as we speak.

        What ya reckon, Hightackle? You are England’s ambassador for the roar.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 5:29am
      kingplaymaker said | February 3rd 2013 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      Hightackle it’s strange to think he was better in his very first match of rugby than in two whole years of AFL.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 7:22am
        Christo the Daddyo said | February 3rd 2013 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        No it’s not.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:23am
        Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        Why? One game is completely different and he had never played afl.

        • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:30am
          kingplaymaker said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          What I mean Justin is that out of a whole two years of playing one code, about a fifth of the time an elite athlete plays at the top of their game, he was less effective than in his very first game of another i.e. this is a better way to spend his time and use his talents.

          • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:39am
            Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            “tthis is a better way to spend his time and use his talents.”

            And you didn’t know this before yesterday?

            • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:46am
              kingplaymaker said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Perhaps so, but it makes the move to the AFL look utterly ludicrous now, when if he wanted a new code this was here.

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:57am
                Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                His move to the afl was utterly ridiculous from the start, he didn’t need 2 years flapping about for that to be known

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:01am
                kingplaymaker said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                Well, true…but Hunt did ok?

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:15am
                Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                Very different players and skill sets, and again hunt had an interest in the game and had played at least a little bit. He is a natural sportsmen, Foloua isn’t across all sports like that imo

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:20am
                kingplaymaker said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:20am | ! Report

                That sounds right-a shame he didn’t come straight here a couple of years back but the AFL should at least have helped with kicking and endurance.

              • Roar Guru

                February 3rd 2013 @ 2:07pm
                PeterK said | February 3rd 2013 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

                does not look ludicrous to me when you consider how much more money he made for those 2 years.

                Set him up for life and that means he can choose to play what he enjoys the most, and at this stage that is rugby.

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 2:12pm
                Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                Not in terms of money Peter in terms of him never being a success at it. I agree it’s set him up, though he would have been fine regardless…

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 3:18pm
                soapit` said | February 3rd 2013 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                and 2 years isnt really that long out of his career. give it a go for a spell especially if someones willing to give you bucketloads of cash

      • Roar Guru

        February 5th 2013 @ 1:48pm
        KiwiDave said | February 5th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        AFL is a game for skinny runts with good aerobic endurance. Folau was always going to be a flop there due to his poor aerobic capacity

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 6:00am
      Billy Bob said | February 3rd 2013 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      Looks like a code smacking headline here. ‘Most comfortable I’ve been in two years’
      Anyway, I wish he and his minders would make him into a smaller target ATM. But I suppose he is the current headline. Might be good for him to scream for the ball on the burst, then let the inside backs duck the tacklers and make the breaks.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:06am
        kombiutedriver said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        Let’s see how he fares on the 23rd Feb.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:41am
        Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        So ‘comfortable’ on the field that he didn’t want to leave when he got yellow carded. 🙁

        At least he’s okay with having a laugh at himself. He seems an okay guy to me. 😉

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 12:24pm
        Anon said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        What at very least it does illustrate is that the difference between playing good standard (okay, elite) RL and stepping into good standard (elite but a trial game) RU – could it perhaps be compared to as big a leap as moving from T20 cricket to test cricket. (and that’s not saying it’s easy).

        I’ve been wondering this though in recent times – are the games of RU and RL more similar than T20 is to Test Cricket? At what point is something a stand alone code of sport or just a variant? Anyway – perhaps a question to ponder for another day.

        And from the Folau perspective – the people who ask ‘how easy must AFL be’ – Folau underwhelmed in the extreme at AFL level but did okay at NEAFL level. He now joins a vast list of Irish lads who’ve found the challenge too great. Had he stuck it out another couple of years – who knows. On evidence, for Folau, RU is a far easier transition (seriously NOT surprising – so not really saying that much) than AFL was.

        • February 3rd 2013 @ 1:24pm
          Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          Anon, just becuz Izzy struggled does not mean everybody would. Hunt for example?
          Union and league are less similar than you would think. Very few rules are the same.
          A variant? I think Anon is an AFL man.

          • February 3rd 2013 @ 3:21pm
            soapit` said | February 3rd 2013 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

            quite a few rules are the exactly the same and lots are very very similar.

            • February 3rd 2013 @ 9:49pm
              Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

              Are you saying its a variant?

              Name the rules that are exactly the same.

              The scrum is different, the amount of players on the field is different as is the lineout, the substitutions, the points, the ruck, the ball, the positions, the 22 drop out, the tackle count, the kicking to touch, the number of referees, etc.

              Very little is the same appart from running with the ball, try scoring and tackling. I would guess that 90% of the rules are different, if not higher.

              Imo its almost as different as netball and basketball.

              • Roar Guru

                February 3rd 2013 @ 11:08pm
                PeterK said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

                you cannot pass forward , or have blockers (obstruction) , or knock and some offside, these all would be the same
                but yes most are actually different.

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:26pm
                Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

                A deliberate forward pass in league is a penalty and is accidental offside a scrum in league? Also Im not entirely sure obstruction rules are the same either.
                They are similar but not identical.

              • Roar Guru

                February 3rd 2013 @ 11:47pm
                PeterK said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

                A deliberate forward pass in rugby is a penalty also.

                I believe accidental offside in league is a scrum.

                Obviously some obstruction laws retaining to set pices are different. I meant in regards to runners etc.
                The actual laws / rules are the same however the interpretation of when a defender is impacted is different.

                All a mute point in that most laws / rules are at least slightly different and since you are a bit of a pendant then you are correct.

              • February 4th 2013 @ 9:27am
                soapit said | February 4th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

                a try is scored when the ball is placed down over the tryline. a penalty is scored when the shot goes through the posts, drop goals must bounce first then go over.

                if you look a bit harder you’ll find a few more that are exactly the same.

                90% different probably sounds about right (probably a bit low if anything). for a game that has so many rules that leaves quite a few that are the same. very few isnt the words id use then.

                maybe ur right about like netball and basketball. thats a pointless subjective argument which i’ll avoid.

              • February 4th 2013 @ 10:11am
                soapit said | February 4th 2013 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                additionally there are many more which, although slightly technically different, will not be discernably different 99.9999% of the time for someone actually playing.

          • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:42pm
            Malo said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

            hunt isnt exactly killing it in afl

            • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:01pm
              Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

              Well I would say being named by the courier mail as a member of the Queensland team of 2012 is doing OK.
              He is a good AFL player.
              How many league players transition to be union props, hookers or openside flankers? The games being so similar it must happen all the time.

              • Roar Guru

                February 3rd 2013 @ 10:22pm
                Jiggles said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

                Haha there is a QLD team for AFL???

                Good grief!!!

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:25pm
                Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

                Hunt is a below average afl player. He can get better but if you are relying on a qld afl team selection as recognition for proof of quality you don’t know much about the game….

            • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:49pm
              Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

              Pffft yeah being named as one of the best AFL players in QLD means he is below ave.
              I just go on whats written and reported Justin.
              The consensus is that he is pretty good and getting better.

              • February 4th 2013 @ 5:50am
                Justin2 said | February 4th 2013 @ 5:50am | ! Report

                Qld is an afl backwater,please dont comment if you dont understand the game.

                He wouldn’t make a third team from Vic, there is your answer!

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:49am
      Terry Kidd said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      an encouraging debut …. tis good to see

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:00am
      Jack said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      He’ll be a dual international before the year is out. The youngest League international ever and the youngest to play for Qld SoO. League rep. spots are earned from a deep player pool. A once in a generation talent. Sign him to a 5 year deal.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 3:22pm
        soapit` said | February 3rd 2013 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

        qld soo only recently has had a deep player pool. this is the reason behind their much celebrated loyalty to players

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 4:45pm
        charlie mackay said | February 3rd 2013 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

        Yeh, sign him for 5 years… So he can be the next mercenary to break a contract after 1-3 years… Overrated player…

        • Roar Guru

          February 3rd 2013 @ 5:38pm
          PeterK said | February 3rd 2013 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

          Folau is not a mercenary, if he was he would of stayed in AFL for a LOT more money. Just because he turned his back on league TWICE , obviously not a challenging game

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:12am
      p.Tah said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      I recall watching Tahu debut in a trial game for the Tahs. Scored with his first touch of the game and had a blinder. I hope Folau does well but we’ll have to see him against the NZ and Saffas before getting too excited.

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