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Israel Folau

Last played for GWS Giants in 2012
Games: 13     Born: April 3, 1989     Origin: Melbourne Storm
Playing Height: 193cm     Playing Weight: 101kg     Position: Forward
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Israel Folau Biography

Thursday, 14 February 2013
After returning to rugby, former GWS Giant Israel Folau admits he did not enjoy his time in the AFL.

"It was hard because our team was a new team, and every week we'd get a flogging," Folau said.

"It wasn't an environment for a player to enjoy and learn an entirely new game. It was quite hard.

"I used to wake up trying to find an excuse to not go to training, that's how much I didn't like it. I was trying to hide it but in the end I had to do what was right for myself.

"The way I am feeling now is a totally different feeling to the way I felt then. Things have turned around for sure."

Friday, 18 January 2013
With Israel Folau's departure, rising star Toby Greene will don the club's most popular No. 4 jumper.

Meanwhile, Lachie Whitfield, the top selection in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft, has been handed the honour of retired Giant Luke Power's No.6 guernsey.

"We felt that the players who performed well for the club in their first year deserved the opportunity to pick up an earlier number if they wished," coach Kevin Sheedy said.

"We also obviously see Lachie Whitfield as a very talented young player and it's an honour for him to wear the number worn by Luke Power, who was such a great champion for more than 300 AFL games."

Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Giants CEO David Matthews says Israel Folau should not be considered a mercenary.

"You won't find anyone at the Giants or anyone in the AFL questioning his integrity," Matthews said.

"I think it is disappointing that he's had his integrity questioned, because it is very unfair. He's an outstanding person, we've always found him to be very honest and very open.

"What he did was a very honorable thing and ask to be released."

Sunday, 4 November 2012
AFL great Simon Black reveals he tried to coach Israel Folau during a premiership game last season but the convert "had no idea".

"I remember playing against him earlier this year at the Gabba, we were up by 70 and I was confident we would win," Black recalled.

"The ball came into Izzy's forward line so I told him where to run. I said to Izzy 'mate, run over there and you will get the ball'. But he didn't. He just had no idea."

Saturday, 3 November 2012
Man-of-the-moment Israel Folau writes that he honestly hopes his decision to quit AFL and GWS Giants hasn't hurt anyone.

"I'm not apologising for anything. I made my decision on what I felt was right. I needed to be true to myself," Folau wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

"In the end I didn't have the heart and passion to go on. In the end the only way to do it was by being honest.

"I now look back over the last two years without any regrets. I gave it a real good crack.

"I didn't play as well as I would have liked but I can honestly say I gave it everything I had."

Friday, 2 November 2012
Fellow rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt says he was shocked to learn of Israel Folau's decision to quit the AFL, but says it was the right one.

"I was a little bit shocked like most people," Hunt said.

"I guess it's a pretty brave decision on his behalf and I respect his decision because he felt his heart's not in.

"It would have been unfair to a lot of people, including himself, if he just stayed on and carried on. I wish him well."

Thursday, 1 November 2012
High-profile rugby league recruit Israel Folau quits AFL citing a lack of passion for the game.

"In the end the passion wasn't quite there, and I think if I was staying I guess I was kind of cheating myself, so I had to be honest and move forward," Folau said.

"The last two years I've really enjoyed. I've learned a lot about the game and about myself, so I wouldn't change the experience for anything."

GWS confirms it may make a play for Kurt Tippett after Israel Folau quit the club on Thursday.

"We've still got to work out what that means and what are the terms and conditions in which he might enter one of the drafts," GWS chief executive Dave Matthews said.

"So the next couple of weeks Gubby Allan and Steve Silvagni will work with the coaches to do their due diligence on him, but we're certainly in there for Kurt Tippett."

Thursday, 6 September 2012
Israel Folau says he's starting to get the hang of the nuances of AFL, and hasn't given thought to returning to rugby league yet.

"At the moment, my job now I'm with the Giants, and to be honest I haven't really thought about it (returning to rugby league)," Folau said.

"I'm starting to get the hang of it (AFL) now. It's helped to play as many games as I have this year. The one thing for me is I've got to know it's going to take some time, so I've just got to be patient."

Monday, 3 September 2012
GWS coach Kevin Sheedy urges AFL code hopper Israel Folau to unleash the rage following his best game in a Giants guernsey against North Melbourne.

"The thing I really liked was when he wasn't paid a mark early and he thought he should have got it - and he got irate. I love that," Sheedy said.

"I love that when he gets annoyed. Because I think he plays well annoyed - and really, really annoyed. So I think I'll try and annoy him next year a lot more."

Sunday, 2 September 2012
Israel Folau says he has had to stay mentally strong during a tough first AFL season and is looking forward to a break before the next pre-season.

"I've been working hard all year and it's been a challenging year for me, but that's just the way it's turned out," he said.

"The year is finished now. I'm looking forward to a break - I head over to the States in October - and then starting pre-season.

"I don't really care about media and all that sort of stuff. I guess I had to try to stay mentally strong, but I don't read the papers and it's not a problem for me.

"I was confident in my ability, just some games this year weren't the best."

Thursday, 23 August 2012
Cameron Mooney expresses doubt that Israel Folau will ever make it in the AFL.

"All year I've been telling people to relax, it'll take time, but the more I watch the more I think, Israel, you're not for our game," Mooney said.

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy fires back at Cameron Mooney via twitter.

"A little seagull dropped in with a few morsels re Cameron Mooney v Israel Folau. Had some interesting stats on Mooney's first year in AFL," Sheedy began.

"Mooney's average disposals in first year for NM in 1999 were 3.3 compared to Izzy 5.9 in his first year

"Mooney had 29 hit-outs and took 14 marks in 1999. Izzy has had 61 hit-outs and taken 20 marks so far this year

"All this in a side that has won two games as opposed to a premiership. By my calculations Izzy has had a better debut year than Mooney."

Wednesday, 22 August 2012
GWS list manager Stephen Silvagni says Israel Folau deserves time to develop just like most young talls.

"He's a player who's in his first year as an AFL player," Silvagni said.

"We've got to give him time to develop. If you have a look at a lot of talls at other clubs, they really only start to play reasonable football in their third year.

"I think we've got to cut him slack a little bit."

Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Statistical analysis by Champion Data suggests that Israel Folau is the second-worst player in the league this season among those who have played 10 or more games.
Saturday, 18 August 2012
The media raises questions about Israel Folau's commitment to the game after a disinterested performance against Melbourne where he failed to tally a possession until the third quarter.

"Everybody here, particularly people that follow all the codes, expect a person to be a superstar straight away," Sheedy said in Folau's defence.

"Well it doesn't happen. Izzy cops a battering, because people like to write those sort of stories. He's still learning."

Thursday, 12 July 2012
Code-swapper Israel Folau insists he will be with Greater Western Sydney next year after speculation continued about his future.

"It's just rumours, whoever's spreading that (about returning to league), it's definitely not true," Folau said.

"I'm just worried about my job here at the Giants and trying to move forward. I'm signed with the Giants for the next two years and that's all I'm worried about."

Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Tadhg Kennelly says he believes Israel Folau will remain in the AFL next season and has a bigger upside than Karmichael Hunt.

"I'm certain he won't (go back to league), just on my own feeling of being a professional athlete and that you want to prove to people that it wasn't just a marketing tool," Kennelly said.

"He's a lot more upside than with Karmichael's game because he has that explosiveness in his game as a centre-half forward that can win you a game."

Kevin Sheedy is adamant Israel Folau will soon prove his critics, including David Parkin and Matthew Lloyd, wrong and emerge as an AFL star.

"He'll probably play really well from now until the end of the season and then he'll absolutely brain them next year," Sheedy said.

"David Parkin can go and have a cappuccino at Carlton and relax."

Thursday, 28 June 2012
Israel Folau will miss the Sydney derby with the Swans as he recovers from a hamstring strain and will instead play in the curtain-raiser clash earlier in the afternoon.

"If we put him in the firsts and he blew his hamstring, we'd be filthy on ourselves," Giants coach Kevin Sheedy said.

"That's just not the right thing to do. The different pressure between an AFL game and a NEAFL game is enormous. I just think being a month out, it's going to be too much."

Saturday, 23 June 2012
Dermott Brereton says GWS star Israel Folau needs to build confidence and put trust in his own ability and the ability of his teammates.

"In poker terms he needs to go all in, at the moment he's hedging his bets. He's so keen to do the right thing he's got a bit of fear of failure," Brereton said.

"He's feeling if he charges at the ball and makes a mistake the opposition will take it away and score. Sometimes you have to go 100 per cent and rely on your team mates to hit you on the chest."

Wednesday, 18 April 2012
New part-time Giants assistant Dermott Brereton believes Israel Folau can become a fine AFL player, but it will take time.

"Everyone is marking Israel so hard. He's been in it for five minutes," Brereton said.

"It's a unique game to try to learn. Should we get some knowledge into him, he's going to be quite a good player. He's going to be something pretty special."

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy says Israel Folau may be rested at some stage during the season, possibly as early as Round 4 against Adelaide.

"Sooner or later we'll have to rest him for a week just to ease the pressure," Sheedy said.

"We'll do what Gold Coast did with Karmichael Hunt: give him a breather, let the dust settle.

"He's handling the pressure pretty good. He's a quiet person, a bit like Dustin Fletcher. How would you know what Dustin Fletcher is thinking? I like it when he gets aggressive, though."

Thursday, 12 April 2012
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui says he's confident his good friend Israel Folau will re-sign soon with Greater Western Sydney.

"The time I've spent with him overseas and in Sydney as well, he's grown that passion and love for the game that every AFL player has," Naitanui said.

"I think it's just a matter of time. He'll sign pretty soon."

Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Tom Scully will play his first game for the Giants after missing Round 1 due to a fractured cheekbone.

It was a pretty historic event for the club and the AFL and not to be out there was disappointing," Scully said.

"But in the scheme of things it was only one game and it could've been a lot worse. I'm just looking forward to this week and hopefully it's the start of a really promising future here."

Monday, 26 March 2012
Co-captain Callan Ward has defended Israel Folau's debut performance, urging the football world to be patient.

"I think we have to be patient with Izzy," Ward said.

"He's the type of guy who puts high expectations on himself. I think we have to help him. I think it'll be a huge journey for him but he's got plenty of potential, he's a great power athlete and I think in a few years he'll be great for us."

Saturday, 24 March 2012
Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy says he has been buoyed by the improvement of rugby league recruit Israel Folau.

"Folau will be a challenge," Sheedy said after the Giants' first AFL game which resulted in a loss to Sydney.

"He's actually quietly improving now. I think he's starting to lift to the occasion. He's just sort of starting to show a few signs."

Thursday, 22 March 2012
Joel Selwood apologises for a tweet where he said he "had a feeling" that Israel Folau would be cleared by the Match Review Panel to play in the Giant's first game against Sydney.

"It was supposed to be support of Israel and a little bit tongue in cheek, but I understand that it could have been misconstrued by some people," Selwood said.

"I apologise to the match review panel for that, as I know they are people who take their integrity very seriously. I didn't mean to suggest they are anything but impartial and fair.".

Sunday, 18 March 2012
Israel Folau admits that he switched to AFL from rugby for financial reasons but says it was more about looking after his family than for personal gain.

"With my family and that, mum and dad, I've got to look after them," Folau said.

"It's not just about me really personally, the decision I've made wasn't about me, it was about me and my family. Because if it was about me, I think I probably would have just stayed playing rugby league.

"People always say that I was maybe a little bit greedy but they don't really know where I've come from and all that sort of stuff."

Thursday, 8 March 2012
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says rugby converts Karhichael Hunt and Israel Folau have made significant and positive impacts on the game.

"We want Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt to stay in the game, they're great ambassadors for the game and with the risks they've taken they have nothing but praise from all of us," Demetriou said.

"Both have returned our investment in spades. In fact, they're in credit."

Friday, 2 March 2012
GWS coach Kevin Sheedy says he will throw Irael Folau into the ruck at times this year as part of his development.

"He'll learn to play AFL in lots of positions," Sheedy said.

"We'll play him in the ruck, so he'll learn about that. He's got a fantastic spring. He's got magnificent, huge hands - so he can push the ball down.

"We're exploring all of those avenues for him to develop and keep improving."

Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Israel Folau failed to impress in his first NAB Cup outing after managing just three handballs but GWS coach Kevin Sheedy says it's just a case of teammates needing to kick the ball to him.

"He should have kicked three goals on the weekend. Some of our players didn't even see him when he was free," Sheedy said.

"We've looked at the games on the camera and I think to myself - we've got the ball, we kick it into our forward line and there's Israel Folau (presenting) twice. He's five to seven metres apart by himself. He got away from his opponent."

Saturday, 4 February 2012
GWS coach Kevin Sheedy says Israel Folau is improving as a player.

"Israel has become a better player through the training, obviously," Sheedy said.

"He kicked over 30 goals last year and probably would've kicked 40 if I hadn't played him down the back half for four or five games.

"He'll play all the NAB Cup games. He needs every game to get him ready to play against AFL-standard players."

Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Israel Folau will stick with the number 4 jumper he wore in the NRL.

"It's the number I've worn most of my football career, so why change," Folau told The Daily Telegraph.

I knew that Tony Lockett wore that number and he was a cult figure in Sydney in his playing days. I'll try my best to continue the tradition. He's a great player to have worn that number, so it puts some pressure on me."

Wednesday, 18 January 2012
GWS coach Kevin Sheedy has declared Israel Folau a certain starter for the Giants' round one clash with the Sydney Swans.

"I'll play him every time I get the opportunity, the only time he won't play is when he's being rested," Sheedy said.

"It has helped his development dramatically being able to sneak under the radar away from the crowds. The biggest test will come in next month's four NAB Cup games."

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