Izzy or isn’t he? Izzymania is overated

Izzy or isn’t he? Izzymania is overated

Izzy: just another mungo after a quick buck

I don’t want rugby union to sign Israel Folau or any other mungo looking for a quick buck. And that’s what it’s come to, an unseemly exercise in playing off the AFL against the ARU to get the ‘right price’ for this bloke.

After all the bad experiences we’ve gone through with the other mungos that have been recruited – to wit: Sailor, Tuqiri, Rogers, Tahu and who can forget lesser lights at state level like Blacklock and McGoldrick, why would you want more of these people. Haven’t they learnt?

He’s probably a nice simple kid reportedly from a good christian family, which might mean that he doesn’t go round defecating in hotel stairways, beating up his girlfriend or sexually assaulting his neighbours like other NRL ‘stars’.

Really, the NRL shouldn’t become a feeder club for Super 15 or international rugby union just because they haven’t got the money to pay their players comparable amounts of dosh.

And by the way, what experience has Folau had in union? Zip by the sounds of it apart from maybe a couple of runs at school in a nothing midweek tournament.

What about someone like Will Chambers I hear you say, the most recent convert? He’s actually had a background as a schoolboy GPS union player in Brisbane so had the basics already.

What’s the criteria for a Wallaby outside back these days, apart from having a sharp hairdo?  Speed right. Is Folau fast?

No he ain’t. He’s big and strong and has some aerial skills but he wouldn’t be a patch on someone like Diggers for speed or evasiveness.

In fact, I can see Diggers, Davies, Shmoo and Bachman Turner dropping into overdrive and burning him.

In league he runs AT people, sometimes OVER them (which is handy in that game) and has a good fend but infrequently around them. I suppose he doesn’t need to be fast.

Can he tackle? Well, he might make the odd tackle as you do in league but you never see him actually smash anybody. Interestingly, he doesn’t make as many tackles as you’d think.

I’ve had a look at his stats for this year and it doesn’t make great reading. In 4 out of 6 games he’s averaged 5 tackles in each. Crikey, even Campo made more than that!

In last night’s NRL Broncos v Newcastle game he made 11 tackles but crucially missed 4.

Do you know how many linebreaks he’s made this year, altogether? 5. Yes, 5 in 6 games. On average he runs about 12 times per game (that’s logged every time he touches the ball and runs a metre or more).

This doesn’t sound like much of a workhorse to me. The positive in his stats are his tries, 6 in total. Maybe he’s being put into space by other players and scoring. By the way the Broncos have been going lately he’s obviously the go-to guy……

Can he kick? He has reportedly undertaken ‘secret’ kicking trials for the AFL but someone who knows him better than most, the scout that recruited him for professional league (Peter Sullivan – Melbourne Storm), says that he wouldn’t be quick enough to play wing in union and he can’t kick.

Outside backs who can’t kick are a liability in today’s game (Wendell never did master it) so unless you have that skill you are a lesser player.

And who needs another outside back? Marc Gasnier would be a far better option having now played the game successfully in France for the past two seasons.

Not forgetting the development of young players like Horne, Davies, McCabe, Cummins and Morahan. It’d take at least two years for him to properly flower if he was to come over.

As of last Friday, Folau hasn’t taken up the two-year option at the Broncos that would have kept him at the NRL club until the end of 2013.

He was contractually obliged to tell the Broncos by yesterday if he wanted to honour the final two years of his contract but didn’t tell them.

He’s now on the open market but can still negotiate a league contract with the Broncos or whoever, in addition to the Rebels or the proposed Greater Western Sydney AFL franchise.

I think he’s just another risk and who’s to say that he’d readily adapt to our game. He could even go to AFL for more money after a short stint in union, if he actually could kick.

Nah, give him the flick and channel the money into some real union player’s development.


Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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