Folau has high-ball surprise for Bellamy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau has high-ball surprise for Bellamy

By Wayne Heming 16/06/2009 07:52:00 PM Comments (0)

Queensland destroyer Israel Folau had a message for NSW State of Origin coach Craig Bellamy after his former Melbourne mentor branded him a "diver".

The 20-year-old Brisbane giant who boasts a strike rate of one try an Origin said Bellamy should be prepared for something "new" from him in Origin II in Sydney on Wednesday week.

"It's up to me to find legal ways to get around them stopping me getting to the ball," Folau told AAP after Bellamy had questioned his integrity when contesting bombs.

"I've got to try a few new things next week, maybe change my line or change my position from where I am ... we'll see how I go.

"I'm having to fight to get in a good position now because teams are certainly trying to run me off the ball.

"They block my path and make me go around them. It takes me a bit longer to get to the ball to contest it.

"It puts my timing off the jump.

"I've got a few ideas to try at training this week and I'll try them in the game to get around their tactics."

Under immense pressure to save the Origin series in Sydney, Bellamy fired two shots across Queensland's bow on Tuesday.

He guaranteed the ire of the Queenslanders by claiming their iconic coach Mal Meninga not only "conned" referee Tony Archer into looking after Folau, but also questioned Folau's integrity when contesting bombs.

"Israel is obviously wonderful under the high ball," conceded Bellamy.

"But if anyone gets in his road and competes for the high ball and gives him a little bump, he hits the ground straight away."

The strapping 195cm Folau has bagged 11 tries in 13 NRL games this season.

He's been so dominant in aerial challenges with his impressive 105kg frame that he's forced NRL coaches to devise tactics which include running blockers in his path or taking him out of the contest to keep him off the ball for as long as possible.

He pulled an early penalty when NSW winger Jarryd Hayne appeared to bump him out of the play early in the first half in Melbourne.

Folau said people watching him will always expect him to fly high to grab the ball and score.

"I certainly don't expect that from myself," he said.

"If I can get in a good position I try and get up high and compete."

Folau will have a week to work out new right side defensive patterns with North Queensland's Willie Tonga, a left side specialist centre, recalled for the injured Justin Hodges (knee).

"I'm certainly going to miss Hodgo (Justin Hodges) being there in attack and defence but Willie is another great centre who is a good strong defender and good with the ball in hand," he said.

For someone so young, Folau is well aware of the occasion that awaits him in Sydney next week when Queensland can be the first state to win four straight Origin series.

"We spoke a bit about it before the first game and this game is a chance to make that happen," he said.

"I feel very honoured to be part of a great team like this in this time and to be part of winning four in a row would be very special.

"But we have to work hard this week to make that happen."

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