AFL would be laughing at league: Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL would be laughing at league: Lockyer

By Wayne Heming 10/06/2010 01:55:00 PM Comments (0)

A disappointed Darren Lockyer says AFL will be sitting back laughing at rugby league's in-fighting over the Israel Folau affair.

Angry Australian Rugby League (ARL) chief executive Geoff Carr guaranteed the AFL significant media space on Thursday, revealing a NSW-led push for a rule change banning Folau from playing in the third Origin game in Sydney next month.

"I think there'd be some people in the AFL ranks who'd be sitting back today having a good old laugh about it and a giggle," Lockyer said on Thursday.

Lockyer suggested the move could provide the Maroons with the edge to close out a fifth straight Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday with Folau as their match-winner.

"If they go down this path (banning Folau) I'm sure the whole of Queensland will be angry," said Lockyer."

The Queensland and Australian captain said the game's administrators should be "moving in the one direction" giving a united front instead of handing the AFL a free kick.

Carr's concern is the AFL will turn rugby league's Origin showpiece into a circus if Folau, who has signed a four-year deal to play and promote the Greater Western Sydney expansion club, plays in game three at ANZ Stadium on July 7.

He has accused Queensland of putting self-interest ahead of the good of the game with its Folau-flip after leading players, including Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva, and QRL managing director Ross Livermore spoke out against picking the 21-year-old code jumper.

"We have to think about a Queensland team (with Folau) preparing for game three in Western Sydney and playing the game in Western Sydney. It could be a circus," Carr told News Ltd.

However Lockyer, who admitted he'd done an about-face after talking with other players, said any move to ban Folau would be playing into the AFL's hands, giving them even more exposure at rugby league's expense.

"The more it drags on the more the three letters - AFL - get mentioned in our stories," he said.

"I'm a little bit surprised (it's come up again).

"I thought once Israel was named in the team it would be a talking point for a little while and then die down and we'd all move on.

"I'm team mate of Israel's and I'm a Queenslander so it's disappointing from our point of view."

Lockyer was confident Folau's focused was totally fixed on Wednesday night's game despite the furore going on around him.

"Izzy's good. He's not reading the papers, he's not watching TV, he's not letting anything distract him," said Lockyer.

"My message to the boys right now would be `don't let this distract you', to win this game and win the series, let's just put all our energies into that.

"If it raises its head again before game three in Sydney, then we'll sort things out then."

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