Folau sparkles at Broncos training - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau sparkles at Broncos training

By Laine Clark 09/01/2009 05:43:46 PM Comments (0)

Describing Israel Folau as Brisbane's biggest NRL signing would be a "pretty big statement", according to new Broncos coach Ivan Henjak.

But it was clear that the Kangaroos flyer was one of their most important when Folau was officially unveiled in Broncos colours in Brisbane on Friday.

For an NRL club striving to ditch the bad press of 2008, the arrival of the squeaky clean devout Mormon could not be better timed.

Judging by the "cat who got the cream" look on Henjak's face on Friday, Folau was just the tonic as the Broncos attempted to finally put last season's well documented booze-fuelled controversies behind them.

"We think he is a really good fit in terms of his personality and his character here. We are as excited about that as we are about his playing ability," Henjak said.

And Henjak's smile got wider when Folau claimed he would only get better as a player at the Broncos.

It is a scary prospect considering Folau earned Origin honours, Test selection and won an NRL premiership with Melbourne by 19.

Asked if his best was yet to come, Folau said: "That's right. I am not really happy so far about my game - I look forward to working on that.

"Although I was playing good footy in Melbourne away from my (Brisbane-based) family , I think it will help me being back with my family."

But it was clear it would not be just Folau's electrifying on-field form that would be touted upon his arrival at the Broncos.

Henjak stressed just how big a part religion played in Folau's life.

"I think that aspect gives Izzy a good balance in his life," he said.

"All players need something else in their life to keep them grounded and well balanced and religion plays an important part for Izzy."

Folau added: "Religion is the biggest part of my life, that and football goes together for me. It really helps me, on the field and off the field."

Despite Folau's golden boy status, Henjak still baulked when asked if the 105kg matchwinner was Brisbane's biggest signing.

"That's a pretty big statement to make, we have had some pretty big signings here," Henjak said.

"We have signed him at 19, and we have had established players come to this club, players (like) Glen Lazarus, Gorden Tallis - they were pretty big signings.

"Israel has got a little way to go in terms of carving his own piece of history."

But the jury is still out on just where Folau will play for the Broncos.

Henjak said the final decision on whether to combine Folau with Justin Hodges in the centres or keep him on the wing would be made after their 2009 pre-season trial program.

"We don't know whether Hodgo is going to be right for the start of the season as well so that will be a determining factor," Henjak said.

Hodges - undergoing shoulder rehabilitation - is still expected to return from a leave of absence on January 26 but won't play any pre-season trials.

Folau attended his first official Broncos training session on Friday after soaking up the club's pre-season camp at Coffs Harbour.

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