Harley backs Folau's AFL foray - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harley backs Folau's AFL foray

James Dampney 16/11/2010 11:31:45 PM Comments (0)

Two-time premiership winning defender Tom Harley believes Greater Western Sydney recruit Israel Folau will make a successful transition from rugby league superstar to AFL gun.

Folau was a key part of the launch for the AFL's 18th club on Tuesday night, with the new team to be known as the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Harley, who works for the AFL in NSW and helped some young Giants players earlier this year, was at the launch and while he hasn't worked directly with Folau, he believes the 21-year-old will succeed in the sport.

"If I had any contribution whatsoever to Israel's football development, I just think he's a no-brainer to be in the first line of defence in the fullback line," Harley told AAP.

"He's got speed, he's got height, he's got strength, if he can't sit on an opponent and be led to the ball and win the contest I'll go home.

"And then you work your way up the ground and he's obviously got great sporting pedigree and great aerial awareness so he could eventually move his way around the ground.

"But I'd start him at fullback. If you look at Daniel Merrett at Brisbane he was a league convert and just charged out of fullback and now he's vice-captain of the Lions.

"I'd be very surprised if he couldn't play a similar sort of role."

Having never played the sport competitively, Folau cut a somewhat reluctant figure at the launch, where he was the main star of the evening along with coach Kevin Sheedy.

He knows his first and only task is to work hard every day to develop the kicking and handballing skills that are unique to Australian rules football.

"My first priority is to try to learn the game in order to get my skills up and be an elite AFL player," he said.

"But that'll take time and at the moment I'm just happy to be part of a new franchise and looking forward to the future.

"I can't wait to get my kicking and handballing right and all the boys have been helping me out.

"Obviously mykicking is still a work in progress and it will take time just learning technique and everything that will help me later on."

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