Folau ahead of Stynes: Sheedy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau ahead of Stynes: Sheedy

Joe Barton 18/11/2010 07:21:49 PM Comments (0)

Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy believes rugby league convert Israel Folau is more talented than Melbourne great Jim Stynes was at the same age.

Sheedy gave Folau the incredible compliment as the 21-year-old took part in his first ever training session with the Giants on Thursday afternoon.

The shy 21-year-old seemed overawed at being the centre of attention as over 100 eager fans showed up to catch the first glimpse of the former NRL star kicking around a Sherrin.

Folau acknowledges he has a lot to learn in the next 12 months, but Sheedy has no doubts the 195cm athlete will be a success - comparing him to Stynes, the Irish Brownlow Medal winner.

"I would say Israel Folau is a better talented player than Jim Stynes from (age) 17-21," Sheedy said.

"I do relate him very close to Jim Stynes. Jim Stynes was a young player that came out from Ireland who got cut off the list at Melbourne ... and came back at 21 years of age, played his first game and became a superstar for Melbourne Footy Club and the AFL."

Whether Folau ever reaches the great heights that Stynes did remains to be seen, but he knows it will start over the next six weeks in the most testing pre-season of his career.

The former Melbourne and Brisbane star has been given a Sherrin by Sheedy to carry around to accelerate his feel for the game - but that is just the start of what will be a drastic 12-month transformation.

"It's going to be a big challenge, but I'm going to have to work over the next twelve months," Folau said.

"Just learning the game is the most important thing for me and trying to get my skills up.

"All the guys around me at the moment now are going to help me out with that so I'm going to be looking for their help and I guess I'll be doing a bit of extra work over the next 12 months.

"(I'll need to work on) a bit of everything I guess ... obviously my kicking and handballing and just reading the game.

"It takes a bit of time and a lot of hard work to try and get my knowledge of the game."

Sheedy also had a word for the sceptics who feel Folau will not be able to live up to the enormous $5 million dollar contract that lured him from rugby league.

"They've got every right to think that ... it's a free country," he said.

"I say to people, it's just about how they feel if he does (succeed).

"Will they make an apology in the mirror to themselves?"

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