Folau likes the forward line - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau likes the forward line

Rob Forsaith 18/05/2011 05:42:50 PM Comments (0)

Code-swapping star Israel Folau has suggested he might fare best playing in the forward line when Greater Western Sydney enter the AFL next year.

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy has deployed Folau mostly in defence in an effort to fast-track his AFL education.

Folau, the first to admit there is still a long way to go in his transition from NRL to AFL, has struggled, with the ball often pinging into his area at frenetic pace.

The rugby league convert hardly touched the leather in the first half of his side's 15-point loss to Brisbane's reserves on Saturday, but was shifted forward after the major break.

Folau failed to kick a goal against the Lions, but looked more comfortable with the freedom.

"For me, I sort of play on instinct and I feel a lot better playing like that as opposed to in the backs, where you've got to watch the man and the ball at the same time," he said.

"It's good to get a taste of both positions. I'm trying to learn the game at the moment, but it was enjoyable to play up front on the weekend."

Folau reaffirmed his commitment to AFL.

"It's a big test for me, I'll certainly have to put my head down and work hard over this whole year, because it's going to be tough," he said.

The 22-year-old received support on Wednesday from fellow rugby league convert Kieren Jack.

Jack, son of Balmain great Garry Jack, picked up Aussie Rules at age 13 after starting off in rugby league when he was five.

"It certainly was a transition, but I was 13 at the time, these guys (Folau and Gold Coast recruit Karmichael Hunt) are in their 20s and wanting to make the move," said the Sydney midfielder.

"I had a few years of development, it took me some time to get to know the game.

"It'll be no different for these guys, but if they persist and they're willing to do it, then there's no reason why they can't."

Jack drew comparisons with teammate Mike Pyke, who played fullback for Canada's rugby union side before signingwith the Swans in 2008.

We certainly had questions over Pykey, whether he could make the transition across," he said.

By his own admission, he really struggled in the first 12 months, but he was really driven and disciplined and wanted to make a go of it.

Now when you look at him play, we're really confident in his ability and he looks really comfortable out there at senior level.

With Israel and Karmichael, you've got to give them time, because they're still learning the game and they're not quite comfortable.'

Sydney's reigning best-and-fairest Jack is still sidelined with an ankle injury, but will ramp his recovery up next week.

"It's a really frustrating injury. I'm probably still a couple of weeks away. The ankle is still healing," he said.

I'll start running next week, if I run pain free, then I'll be back soon."

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