Folau's Tongan farewell unlikely: Carr - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau's Tongan farewell unlikely: Carr

By Darren Cartwright 30/07/2010 04:58:13 PM Comments (0)

He may be switching codes, but ARL chief executive Geoff Carr has poured cold water on Israel Folau's bid to switch allegiances as well in his farewell to rugby league.

Folau, who will join AFL side Greater Western Sydney in 2011, is keen to bring down the curtain on his NRL career by representing Tonga in the October 24 Test against Samoa at Parramatta Stadium.

But given he has played State of Origin this year and represented Australia last year, Folau would need an exemption from the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) to switch allegiances to Tonga.

Carr said the Brisbane centre would need to mount a compelling argument to gain an exemption, with a desire to play for the country of his father's ancestry before jumping ship to AFL unlikely to be enough.

"The fact he is going to AFL where he can't play international football - full stop - probably wouldn't cut it," said Carr, who is not attached to the RLIF and is not part of the decision making process.

"Without knowing his reasons, I can't answer for the federation except to say on the prima facie he does not appear to qualify for a change of election.

"You can't change the rules because someone wants to go to another sport.

"It's very difficult to change your election if you have represented a nation in the last two years and he played for Australia in May 2009.

"He can make application to change his election but he would need a very good reason why he needs to."

Folau, who visited Marsden State Primary school on Friday in Brisbane's south western suburbs to promote a Broncos reading program, said he was unsure if his request would be accepted.

He said representing Tonga, where he lived until he was 13, would be an achievement he and his family would cherish.

"I'm more than happy to represent Tonga. He'd (my father) be proud and my family would be too," Folau said.

"We have to go through the ARL because I played State of Origin this year ... I think it's going to be a big process."

"If we get the green light for it I'd be more than happy. I want to represent Tonga before I leave.

"It's my heritage and it means a whole lot to me and it would be good for the young Tongan kids at school growing up."

While Folau is committed to joining GWS, which enters the AFL in 2012, he has dedicated very little time to learning or understanding the code since he announced his intentions to leave the NRL in May.

"I haven't watched a game of AFL, I've just concentrated on playing footy for the Broncos," he said.

GWS spokesman David Matthews says he hopes Folau's wish is granted and they support his move to represent his country of heritage.

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