Kite hits out at NRL over Folau AFL move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kite hits out at NRL over Folau AFL move

By Ian McCullough 01/06/2010 03:28:43 PM Comments (0)

Manly prop Brent Kite has launched a scathing attack on the NRL after Israel Folau became the latest player to leave the code having agreed to a big-money move to the AFL's new GWS team.

Folau was unveiled on Tuesday as the new face of the western Sydney franchise, having put pen to paper on a four-year deal, worth an estimated $1m a season, despite having never played Australian Rules Football.

He will link up with his new team at the start of the 2011 season and will play in the secondary VFL competition before the team joins the AFL in 2012.

Former NSW and Test front-rower Kite said the fact the AFL can afford to splash out big money as part of a perceived PR stunt, shows just how far behind the NRL is when it comes to protecting the game.

"It is sad, a great young player has been lost to our game, it is a pretty bad situation that we have got ourselves into as a code," Kite said.

"They are moving into league's western Sydney heartland, poaching our better players that are untried, and taking stars away from us not even knowing how they are going to perform.

"It is a bit of a slap in the face.

"My personal opinion is if they can afford to do that as a bit of PR then good on them, they've obviously got their game to a point where they can make decisions like that.

"It's just a shame that we are not doing enough about it, and anything we are doing is obviously not enough at this stage."

The 2008 Clive Churchill medallist also warned that league cannot keep hanging onto the belief that new superstars will come through to replace those who take the big cash on offer from other codes.

"I am getting tired of hearing: 'Good on them, but there will be someone to take their place' it is just not good enough," he said.

"When you see a player like Mark Gasnier, one of the best outside backs in the modern era go away to union, to have the attitude that some bloke is going to fill in (for him) is not right.

"We have got a great game and people will step up, but it is not good enough, we want players to stay in the game."

Manly chief executive Graham Lowe called Folau's switch nothing more than a PR stunt and urged the NRL not to react hastily to the 21-year-old's decision.

"I don't think the game should react to players switching codes as I think rugby league is strong," said Lowe.

"Everyone will get on the salary cap bandwagon which is a restraint for our players, but the game will keep producing stars.

"I think it's just a really expensive PR stunt for the AFL.

"It's just a bit of one-upmanship, if he wants to go, let him go, but he will come back I guarantee."

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