Topics:  ben drewe, blog, magic spray, opinion

Izzy's decision to pull the pin is good for all

Israel Folau has split from AFL after just one season.
Israel Folau has split from AFL after just one season.

YOU can't help but think Israel Folau's decision to quit Australian Rules is win, win, win.

The talented Broncos, Queensland and Australian rugby league outside back signed with Greater Western Sydney for big bucks back in 2010, but struggled to make progress in two seasons in the 18-man game.

That was a far cry from his time in rugby league where, at just 21 years old, he was a State of Origin and Test player along with a premiership winner, although that 2007 NRL title with the Melbourne Storm was stripped due to salary cap breaches.

 

Ben Drewe, sports editor
Ben Drewe, sports editor

The Giants recruited Folau as more a marketing exercise than for his playing prowess as he had never played the game before signing a reported four-year $1million-per-season contract.

 

Starting up a club in western Sydney, the Giants wanted a marketable name they could sell to potential fans in rugby league heartland.

Folau's presence at Skoda Stadium added to the interest in the Giants for what are fickle Sydney sports fans but his troubles in getting up to speed in the AFL did little to hold that interest.

As a key forward, he kicked two goals in 13 games this season for the Giants.

At that rate, each of his goals cost about $1million. Going by that price, Lance Franklin, who kicked 64 goals this season, would be asking Hawthorn for a substantial pay rise.

But after that initial marketing boost for the Giants in their maiden season, Folau had done his job for the club.

The experiment with him on the field hadn't worked out so now was the time to invest that spot on the roster - and hefty pay packet - in a talented teenager that could develop into a quality contributor.

That money could also have the Giants primed to secure Kurt Tippett in either the national or pre-season draft should the AFL not deregister him for his part in the scandal surrounding his contract with the Adelaide Crows.

And for Folau himself, it was probably time to head back to the game where he first made his name.

AFL traditionalists were sceptical of Folau's recruitment and his handsome pay slip so when he was struggling there were plenty of knockers.

That would have been hard to take.

Now he can go back to rugby league, work on regaining his skills and physique and hopefully return to the standard he once was.

The AFL can also now spruik about how one of the NRL's best had a go at their game and couldn't cut it, while rugby league gets back one of their proven performers

Happy days all around I think.



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