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Thread: Wallabies 'must get Israel'

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    Wallabies 'must get Israel'

    Wallabies 'must get Israel'

    By Peter Badel
    May 20, 2007


    FORMER Australia fullback Greg Martin has urged the Australian Rugby Union to offer Melbourne's try-scoring whiz-kid Israel Folau $500,000 a season to switch codes.

    As the Storm move to sign Folau to a long-term deal, Martin said the wing sensation must be the ARU's primary target as part of its blueprint to win the 2011 World Cup.

    Folau, 18, is the hottest property in the NRL after rocketing to the top of the try-scoring list with 10 in nine games. He is off-contract next season and Martin is adamant Folau would be a better investment than Eels flyer Timana Tahu, who will join the Waratahs next season on a four-year, $2 million deal.

    "The ARU should be chasing Israel Folau," Martin said. "If they are paying $400,000 for Timana Tahu, they should be offering that kid half-a-million.

    "A kid that fast with that length of leg and size makes him very hard to pull down at top speed. Greg Inglis (Folau's Melbourne teammate) has that leg drive at high speed and they both pull out of tackles easily.

    "Folau would be perfect for rugby. You see him in games and he looks slightly overawed at times. But he's only a kid, yet he's killing them in the NRL.

    "He's got a great awareness and you can't coach that. He is a ball magnet and knows where to be when the ball comes to him.

    "His ability in the air is incredible. I don't think there's anyone in the NRL better in the air.

    "You don't have to be Einstein to realise he could be the best target the ARU could have."

    The Sydney-reared Folau dabbled in rugby as a kid before committing to rugby league at 14 when he moved to Brisbane with his family and attended Marsden High.

    ARU high-performance boss Pat Wilson said the governing body would be prepared to discuss a code switch with Folau.

    ""If he expressed a desire to look at rugby, we'd be interested in talking to him," he said.

    c/o Melbourne Storm website:

    Israel Folau:

    Date of Birth, 03/04/1989

    Position, Wing / Centre

    Height, 190 cm

    Weight, 97 kg

    Debut, 2007

    Storm Career Stats:

    Mt- 9

    T- 10

    G- 0

    Pts- 40

    Last updated 15/05/2007

    Season 2007 Stats:

    Mt- 9

    T- 10

    G- 0

    Pts- 40

    Last updated 15/05/2007

    Career:

    Israel is a powerful centre or winger who joins the top squad for season 2007. At the tender age of 17, Israel has a junior football resume to be envied. A member of Brisbane Norths Colts premiership team and a Queensland age representative at 15 and 17, Israel became the first player to represent Queensland under-19's while still only 16 years of age. Israel has since gone on to be named in the Australian Schoolboys squad to tour England and France at the end of 2006.

    Preview '07:

    Israel immediately made the NRL staff stand up and take notice when playing in an NRL trial against Parramatta early in 2006. His performance as a 16 year old against NRL players was full of poise and confidence and Israel is expected to, given the chance during 2007, make his NRL debut. Israel is a strapping build, and at 97kgs has the physical attributes to handle NRL at such a young age.

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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    If Inglis is off the table for the next 3 years then grab this kid! Fantastic potential personified.

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    Can't both codes just leave players from the other code alone!? I know poaching is "fun" and creates a belief that they're bolstering their ranks, but i think union's got enough good players w/o having to look at league, even if it is an awesome player like Israel!!

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    Champion prop53's Avatar
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    why dont we all just swap codes for say two years saves on the "Show me the money"

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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    Nah, everyone knows its League that has the talented players, Union would be way off the map if it wasn't for Code Jumpers.

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    Inactive Account inactive's Avatar
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    u for real....

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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    Champion prop53's Avatar
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    So sad to have been brought up in a League State (Chook), to not have been taught the better codes in life.

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    GET HIM WHILE WE CAN. he is a superstar and he would be great at union. it will be hard getting him though

    $500000 max at this stage because after he becomes a superstar in union all the french teams will want him and they wont be able to raise much. i dont think he is worth that much anyway you have to remember hes got people like cronk,slater and guyer giving him golden chances all the time i think hes worth about 400000.

    i hope they listen and buy him.

    here what the melborne storm have to say:



    Melbourne Storm are confident of keeping emerging superstar Israel Folau out of the clutches of the Australian Rugby Union, but believe the NRL should help them do so.


    Former Wallabies fullback and rugby commentator Greg Martin has called for the ARU to target the 18-year-old winger, who is the hottest property in the game and is off contract next year.


    In his debut year Folau is the NRL's leading tryscorer with 11 from 10 rounds.


    With aerial skills and ability to sniff out a try second to none, as well as his imposing size and pace, Folau has been earmarked for the Queensland Origin side as soon as next year and future Kangaroos honours.


    Martin said the ARU should offer him a contract worth $500,000 a year, which is on par with rugby's top earners.


    Melbourne recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan, who discovered Folau at an under-15's carnival in Queensland, said the club hoped to keep Folau on its books for as long as possible.


    "He's a fabulous kid and we're trying to extend his contract as far as we can but how far his management is to do (sic) that is another story," he said.


    "He loves his footy, he loves living in Melbourne and he's all settled.


    "I'm sure he doesn't want to play rugby union and stand on the wing and get a cold, I'm pretty confident we'll be able to do it."


    Folau himself said last week that he wanted to stay in league and that rugby "seemed pretty boring".


    Parramatta back Timana Tahu, 26, will join the NSW Waratahs next year on a deal reportedly worth $400,000 a year and O'Sullivan said older players like him should be let go.


    But the NRL should help clubs keep the future stars in the game.


    "Obviously finances are finances and whether we get some help from the NRL to keep him in the game, hopefully that's a possibility as well.


    "The game can't afford to lose the Israel Folaus... the Timana Tahus of the world, at his stage in his career he should be taking the big bucks because that's his main motivation.


    "But in Israel's case it's about him playing the game for the next 10 years at the highest level, he can't do that if switches to rugby union so we need some financial assistance to make sure we don't lose our best young players."


    Folau's manager Isaac Moses said there had been no approach from the ARU and his young charge was focused on football rather than contract negotiations.


    "If the time comes we'd be stupid not to talk to rugby union but at the moment he's got too much to do in league," he said.


    "He's just a young kid and we just want him to focus on football and having fun."

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    Last edited by jazza93; 22-05-07 at 20:33. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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