Trimmed-down Folau ready to rumble - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Trimmed-down Folau ready to rumble

Adrian Warren 10/03/2011 07:22:11 PM Comments (0)

Greater Western Sydney are set to "unleash the beast" with a trimmed-down Israel Folau expected to make his Australian Rules debut at centre half-back against Port Adelaide on Saturday.

The rugby league convert revealed he was likely to play in short sharp bursts in the match in Willaston this Saturday.

"I know I won't play a full game, I think I will play eight minutes at the most and come off and we will do that probably for the whole game," Folau told reporters on Thursday.

Plenty of running has helped the former Test and Origin league star shed several kilos and reduce his weight to double digits.

"I've never been under 104kg since I was 18 or 19, it's been a long time," said Folau, who scaled 97kg on Thursday morning.

He was excited rather than nervous about playing his first competitive game and had modest expectations.

"If I go out there on Saturday and get a few things right in the game which I've been working on at training, then I will come off the field pretty happy," Folau said.

While emphasising he was now a member of the AFL family, rugby league still has Folau's number in at least one sense, as he intends to continue wearing the No.4 jersey that he wore in the 13-a-side code.

Folau said he hasn't received any messages this week from his former league colleagues, but stressed he had no negative feelings towards his old code.

"At the moment my entire focus is on AFL and how I can improve and grow as a AFL player from now," Folau said.

"There's no hard feelings on the NRL, it's a great sport, but I'm trying to focus on how I can kickstart this career in AFL."

Folau said he had taken confidence from the way the code's other league convert Karmichael Hunt had been developing since arriving at the Gold Coast Suns.

Giants chief executive Dale Holmes wasn't concerned Folau would get his first taste of competition against an AFL team rather than being eased in against a lower level side.

"He is going to get a sense of what the game is like at the elite level on Saturday and the best way for him to experience it is to learn from it, rather than have a year playing at the next level down and then get a surprise next year," Holmes said.

Folau said his ankle felt fine after the injury which kept him sidelined through the Giants' earlier games.

"He's back for the last practice match before the new season, he's one of those blokes that has timed his run beautifully for the season, so it's time to unleash the beast," Holmes said.

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