Israel Folau. Photo: AAP
Israel Folau. Photo: AAP

Why Thorn would be perfect coach for Folau

WOULD Israel Folau be a good signing for the Reds? Hell yeah.

A pulpit-thumping, Bible-bashing evangelist raining down fire and brimstone upon the heads of the unrepentant in the home state of Pauline Hanson? What could be a better fit?

Even more to the point, an enormously talented athlete who can lead the Reds from the wilderness of the past seven years to the promised land of Super Rugby play-offs? Hallelujah brother.

I'm being facetious of course. There is no doubt that Izzy has blotted his copybook with some sections of the community in recent months (most crucially from Rugby Australia's viewpoint the section of the community that watches games from the sponsors' box).

But what is worse: someone having the strength to voice their religious views, or a system that punishes people for voicing those views?

Either way, it doesn't seem to be bothering Izzy too much. If continuing to air his personal beliefs sees him cut adrift by Rugby Australia, he'll simply get a gig somewhere else. Maybe overseas, maybe in the NRL or maybe he'll take up a fourth professional sport. American football perhaps.

I just hope it doesn't come to that. The only place I want to see Izzy move is the Reds.

Israel Folau runs the ball for the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images
Israel Folau runs the ball for the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

It makes an awful lot of sense.

New Queensland coach Brad Thorn has got the Reds looking better than they have for years, and he has done it with a core group of youngsters who won't be truly hitting their straps for another two or three seasons.

Having a genuine star such as Folau in the backline will only add to that maturation process and, from the QRU's perspective, bring much needed revenue in the shape of paying customers through the gates at Suncorp.

Folau would add a new perspective to the Reds. Thorn has built this season's revival on the back of the qualities for which he was famous in his playing days: grit, determination, passion.

While the Reds have plenty of exciting outside backs who have scored some good tries this season, the team is not currently renowned for its entertaining brand of rugby. They play Thornball: get your nose in front and guts it out to the finish.

Brad Thorn. Photo: Annette Dew.
Brad Thorn. Photo: Annette Dew.

Some people, me included, are loving it. Others prefer more sizzle than steak. Folau, used the right way, can deliver both.

Would he fit in at the Reds? Absolutely. He and Thorn share strong Christian beliefs. Thorn is not one to shout about it from the rooftops (or on social media) but he, more than anyone, knows where Izzy is coming from and will be able to offer support and guidance if required.

In fact, the only converting Israel would have to do at the Reds would be to convince management to play a more expansive game to give him maximum involvement.

That shouldn't be too hard. If ever there was a team of young men eager to embrace an illustrious newcomer and learn from his experience, the current Reds are it.

It wouldn't be the first time that a big-name former Brisbane Bronco dropped anchor at Ballymore of course.

Wendell Sailor playing for the Reds in 2003. Photo: David Kapernick.
Wendell Sailor playing for the Reds in 2003. Photo: David Kapernick.

In 2001 when Wendell Sailor made the move he famously pointed to the old ground's turnstiles and said, "Dell sells. Watch these babies spin."

They did, to a degree, but more for Big Dell's name than his consistent performances. The difference is that back then Sailor was learning the game.

Folau has already mastered it, with 64 Tests and 32 tries, a Super 12 title with the Waratahs and a record three John Eales medals.

Now, all we need is for the Reds to make it happen. Let us pray.



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