Henjak believes Folau will shine in 2010 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak believes Folau will shine in 2010

By Wayne Heming 23/12/2009 02:48:09 PM Comments (0)

Coach Ivan Henjak believes Israel Folau is poised to rebound from a disappointing first season with Brisbane and could challenge the likes of Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne as rugby league's best.

Melbourne juggernaut Inglis ended 2009 crowned the world player of the year in addition to tasting premiership, State of Origin and Four Nations glory.

And Hayne established himself as the game's most exciting talent before securing a new four-year $2 million deal with Parramatta.

However for fellow young backline star Folau, things did not go to plan, as the giant 20-year-old struggled with the first serious injury of his career when he fractured his ankle against the Warriors in July.

With Brisbane under the pump, Folau pushed himself to make a comeback against North Queensland just before the finals, but he wasn't the intimidating 105kg force he'd been before hurting himself.

"He had the first major injury of his career and that knocked him about," said Henjak.

"He probably shouldn't have come back when he did, I'm not sure it (fracture) was healed properly and he struggled few those last few games.

"I still thought he did quite well.

"Don't forget we played him on the left side later in the year which was really difficult for him.

"There were some reasons why he wasn't the player we saw in Melbourne but we haven't seen the best of him yet for sure.

"He's not 21 yet."

Henjak is excited about the physical changes he has seen in Folau who's been in full pre-season training while the rest of the Broncos stars enjoy an extended break over Christmas.

"He certainly looks like he's physically matured a bit more," said the coach.

"He's big enough as it it, but I can see him starting to physically mature, especially up top.

"(Fitness director) Dean (Benton) thinks he's got him a little bit quicker or that he can get him a little quicker, which is exciting.

"This will be Izzy's fourth season (in the NRL) and it's time .... if he hasn't made his mark, he's certainly about to."

Henjak stressed the high-leaping 105kg Folau was a different player to the explosive Inglis and the dynamic Hayne.

But all were wonderful athletes who excited fans because of their size, power and skill.

"Izzy brings it in a different way to Greg," he said.

"But he could well have the same kind of impact that Greg Inglis has had on rugby league."

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