Izzy's head not in a good place: Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Izzy's head not in a good place: Lockyer

By Wayne Heming 28/04/2010 07:11:19 PM Comments (0)

A sympathetic Darren Lockyer can see the anxiety and sense the confusion in young Brisbane teammate Israel Folau as he wrestles with his future and whether to stay loyal to the Broncos.

Folau is understood to be considering a reported $800,000-a-season offer to leave Brisbane and be the face of rugby union's new Super 15 franchise, the Melbourne Rebels in 2011.

He has until Friday to activate a get-out clause in his four-year NRL deal with Brisbane, and the feeling is he will follow former Brisbane Broncos' stars Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri across to rugby.

Lockyer, a one-club player with more than 300 NRL games for Brisbane, said he understood what Folau was going through after last month ending long-running speculation about his own representative future.

"It's tough mate, I just think back only recently and the thing is, Izzy is only a kid," Lockyer told AAP 48 hours before Folau's deadline.

"I can see it in him.

"When there's a deadline on these things, it just amplifies everything."

Lockyer said he'd spoken to Folau about his future but stressed it wasn't a "please stay" chat.

"I don't know what his options are, I just basically gave him some advice I thought he could take on board," said Lockyer.

Media representatives were asked on Wednesday not to interview Folau because "he has a game to play this weekend".

Lockyer said Folau's head probably wasn't in a good place at the moment with such a big decision to make.

"He's 21 but he's been playing for Australia for four years and people just think he's a veteran," he said.

"But he's a kid and it's not an easy decision to make at that age."

Lockyer revealed he'd been faced with a similar decision in his mid-20s when he was the target of very big offers to leave the Broncos.

"But I worked out I was happy where I was and I didn't want to change that," he said.

"The offers I got were well above what the Broncos offered.

"But I felt being at this place for a long time, I was going to do well enough playing the game to have a nice life after footy.

"I didn't really see any point in going to chase big money because it wasn't going to bring me any more happiness."

Lockyer said the players would understand if Folau packed his bags.

"All the codes are so professional now being a fulltime footballer is seen as a job," he said.

"Gone are the days when players stay at the one club for life.

"That's just how it is."

If Folau leaves, just 12 months after Brisbane lost another young superstar Karmichael Hunt, the club will be cashed up for the looming Storm fire sale.

"If Israel does leave, there'll be some money to go and buy someone to replace K (Hunt) and Izzy (Folau)," said Lockyer.

"A lot of those Storm boys are from Brisbane."

Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga didn't leave any doubt about his feelings, should Folau make the switch to rugby union.

"If Izzy makes the decision to go away from rugby league, that certainly jeopardises his position in the Queensland side (this year)," Meninga told the Ten network from Cairns, where he and former Origin greats were promoting employment for indigenous youth.

"I'm probably in a position now where we'll probably pick somebody else."

The ARL has a similar view to Meninga regarding Folau's place in Australia's test side to tackle New Zealand in Melbourne next month.

"If he decides to go, it would be disappointing, but it's not the end of the world for us," said ARL chief executive Geoff Carr.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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