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Israel Folau to the AFL...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HOWABOUT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 10:52pm
Prior to this week, few people outside of AFL would have known much about the new west Sydney club, or if they did, they wouldn't have given it a lot of thought.

Following Israels signing, every League and probably Union follower, as well as anyone who watches the sports news or reads the back page of any newspaper in Australia, is fully aware of them and will watch the first several games they play in 2012, whether to see him succeed or fail. 

The instant publicity around the whole country makes the $3mil cheap

The AFL have tried to mitigate the player unrest by claiming $250k/yr is match payments and $1mil/ yr from the clubs marketing budget for promotional work by him. Whether unrest follows remains to be seen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote saintly96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:01pm
Fevola has already come out and stated that throwing money to Hunt and Falou is a slap in the face for the long serving and great players of the game.

He stated that Ablett (who he considers one of the top 5 ever to play the game) and Judd, would be the only players near that sort of money, and they have won premierships, Brownlows and other individual awards. He suggested that it was unfair for some players to work their butts off for 10 to 12 years and then this bloke comes in without ever playing the game and gets so much more money.

That sort of money shoud be spent on setting up grass roots footy in the area, instead of on a guy who is just crossing codes in for the cash. He will see out his contract, and piss back off to to the NRL.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Balmain Tiger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:16pm
Originally posted by saintly96 saintly96 wrote:

Fevola has already come out and stated that throwing money to Hunt and Falou is a slap in the face for the long serving and great players of the game.

He stated that Ablett (who he considers one of the top 5 ever to play the game) and Judd, would be the only players near that sort of money, and they have won premierships, Brownlows and other individual awards. He suggested that it was unfair for some players to work their butts off for 10 to 12 years and then this bloke comes in without ever playing the game and gets so much more money.

That sort of money shoud be spent on setting up grass roots footy in the area, instead of on a guy who is just crossing codes in for the cash. He will see out his contract, and piss back off to to the NRL.
 
I'm guessing this is part of that investment in grass roots in the area. With the number of polynesian's in the area they are trying to entice them to the AFL rather than the NRL. It may be a slap in the face to guys who have busted a gut to get where they are but I can see the logic in the madness. Although I can't quite get around the idea of Karmichael Hunt playing for the Gold Coast - I don't see the logic in this based on the demographics on the Coast.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote saintly96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:27pm
Wouldn't it be better to spend the money on leagues, clinics and coaching in the area, rather than on an overpriced bloke who has never played the game?

I hope there is a player revolt. It would be good to see the players getting up the AFL administration.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote questions Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:41pm
i dont think it is going to change much. in the end league has had concerns with overseas comps stealing players, then union had a go for a while and now the afl. i think they made a good choice in talent but the amount of money is amazing. i think that is the biggest thing going against them. that area of western sydney dont like the glitz of the eastern suburbs and hold it against them. talk of hayne wanting more money made them angry, sheedy acting as the cashman i dont think will be welcomed by the locals.

in the end, there is plenty of talent in the nrl and the one thing that they have realised is that everyone is replaceable. easily forgotten and new stars are just around the corner.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Muffin Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:43pm
Originally posted by saintly96 saintly96 wrote:

Wouldn't it be better to spend the money on leagues, clinics and coaching in the area, rather than on an overpriced bloke who has never played the game?

I hope there is a player revolt. It would be good to see the players getting up the AFL administration.


I would be absolutely shocked if the AFL still wasn't going to do all of that saintly96. The payments to Folau and Hunt will be on top of all of the other expenditure, it's not as if there won't be any money for leagues, clinics, and coaching now that Folau and Hunt are being paid $1m a year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Muffin Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:45pm
Fev needs to realise that people like Ablett and Judd wouldn't garner the same media attention in Sydney that Folau will get. It's that simple.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tommo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2010 at 11:55pm
It is all we are hearing about in NZ so that has to say something. 
 
We do already get every AFL game live here and I watch the odd minute or too but when Falau is playing I will definitely tune in to see how he fears in his first game.  Probably the same with Hunt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote saintly96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 12:33am
Obviously the AFL have done their homework and see this as a major coup, however I feel for the real stars of the game who are obviously better players, have spent years getting to where they have, only to have this guy come from another code, and without ever having played the game before, get a lot more money. To me it stinks.

I think the players would have every right to have their noses out of joint over this.

How will it look if he can't play the game? How will that develop the game in GWS when the kids idol turns out to be an overpriced dud, and they turn away from the sport in droves?

Will the AFL (who are basically paying his wage) and the bills of the GWS club, pressure Sheedy to play him despite the form he is in and despite the fact he may not be good enough?

In the end, we will find out if the AFL can bluff their way into a new market with clever marketing ploys such as this, but I doubt the people of Sydney will suddenly embrace this club for much longer than the few games/seasons it takes to realise that this is just a gimmick.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jolls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 12:40am
A little bit concerning when i read in the Herald Sun that the Melbourne Storm's fitness people say Folau has "one of the smallest tanks ever to come through the club". They say that while his burst efforts are good, he runs out of puff after 1 or 2.
 
Obviously GWS will alter the training that he is used to, but given the way footy is played these days, even the big guys need to have a lot of endurance to be successful (eg. Riewoldt, Brown, Pavlich).
Season 2012 = 102 Years since Collingwood has beaten Carlton in a Grand Final.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Balmain Tiger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 12:50am
Originally posted by Jolls Jolls wrote:

A little bit concerning when i read in the Herald Sun that the Melbourne Storm's fitness people say Folau has "one of the smallest tanks ever to come through the club". They say that while his burst efforts are good, he runs out of puff after 1 or 2.
 
Obviously GWS will alter the training that he is used to, but given the way footy is played these days, even the big guys need to have a lot of endurance to be successful (eg. Riewoldt, Brown, Pavlich).
 
If he plays full forward, won't be too much of an issue.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:00am
May not be too big an issue, the small tank, if he's a dead-set gun kick. However, given tackling would surely be one of his best skills, you'd be hoping his tank improves a bit b/w now and his debut.
 
From a marketing perspective, this could be one of the best moves in Australian sporting history. However, it sounds like there has been quite a backlash against him from rugby folk up in NSW and QLD. If the rugby folk are turning against these guys for quitting their sport, why would they follow them to AFL?
Jury is out for mine. 
Istidaad kicking strongly, he's 2 lengths clear, Crawl gets out from a well back and old Mustard is grinding home... Hang on, Treasury Notes gets out from the back and she'll blouse them all!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jolls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:16am
Originally posted by Balmain Tiger Balmain Tiger wrote:

Originally posted by Jolls Jolls wrote:

A little bit concerning when i read in the Herald Sun that the Melbourne Storm's fitness people say Folau has "one of the smallest tanks ever to come through the club". They say that while his burst efforts are good, he runs out of puff after 1 or 2.
 
Obviously GWS will alter the training that he is used to, but given the way footy is played these days, even the big guys need to have a lot of endurance to be successful (eg. Riewoldt, Brown, Pavlich).
 
If he plays full forward, won't be too much of an issue.LOL
 
Full forwards dont just sit in the goal square anymore. The game has evolved, and will continue to evolve. You often see the best FF's such as Fevola and Hall leading up to the wing to get a kick, plus the forwardline pressure that is expected of players doesnt allow the FF to play a stay at home role as they did in years gone by. Fullbacks like Scarlett and Lake would absolutely carve him up.
 
Ive got no doubt that he may be ok in the air, but when it comes to the defensive side of the game i think he may be found wanting. That, plus the fact he's never kicked a footy before so you cant expect him to walk straight in and become an 80 goal per year FF LOL
Season 2012 = 102 Years since Collingwood has beaten Carlton in a Grand Final.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:20am

But Fev has an unwillingness to chase. He gets away with it because he's a freak of a kick and a terrific mark. The thing about Folau, surely, given he's a rugby star, his tackling would be of vital importance in the AFL.

From what I've seen thus far, he can mark, he can tackle - but we're being told he can't run at full tilt for long distances and we have no idea how he can kick.
 
Istidaad kicking strongly, he's 2 lengths clear, Crawl gets out from a well back and old Mustard is grinding home... Hang on, Treasury Notes gets out from the back and she'll blouse them all!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jolls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:23am
Surely the tackling will be different though as in rugby the man is running straight at you. AFL is a 360 degree game with much more space than a rugby field. If he cant catch the bloke to start with, he'll struggle to lay tackles.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TIGER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:30am
If they play Folou at FF they would want him no further than 20mtrs away from the posts.
 
Its one hell of a publicity stunt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 1:40am
Originally posted by Jolls Jolls wrote:

Surely the tackling will be different though as in rugby the man is running straight at you. AFL is a 360 degree game with much more space than a rugby field. If he cant catch the bloke to start with, he'll struggle to lay tackles.   
 
I agree, but the point I'm making is if you look at his attributes right now - the attributes that could potentially make him a good AFL player - surely his ability to tackle would be one of only a few ticks beside his name? So if he can't run hard, there's no way his tackling would ever prove effective.
Still, Sheeds has proven everyone wrong several times before.
Even this year, he's proven more wrong with Kepler Bradley - that lad CAN play.
Istidaad kicking strongly, he's 2 lengths clear, Crawl gets out from a well back and old Mustard is grinding home... Hang on, Treasury Notes gets out from the back and she'll blouse them all!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mc41 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 5:02am
Why is his kicking a supposed "problem" ?  so far in RL all he has had to do is kick over the top an chase.
No doubt he will kick 40/50 meters when its required
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2010 at 5:06am
Originally posted by mc41 mc41 wrote:

Why is his kicking a supposed "problem" ?  so far in RL all he has had to do is kick over the top an chase.
No doubt he will kick 40/50 meters when its required
 
Not saying it will be a problem, but right now surely there's a question mark over his ability to kick an Aussie rules football given his lack of experience.
And as a full-forward, he will be required to kick it long and straight. I hope he kicks it well, but these are the questions that have to be asked and the skills that have to be taught at the moment.
 
I do wonder how some of the more experienced AFL players, especially the champions like Ablett, Judd etc, feel about a rugby newcomer joining a sport he has never played and earning big bucks. But I do think they appreciate it's all about publicity, and that can only, I guess, strengthen their code for years to come.
Istidaad kicking strongly, he's 2 lengths clear, Crawl gets out from a well back and old Mustard is grinding home... Hang on, Treasury Notes gets out from the back and she'll blouse them all!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VOYAGER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 2:04am
Are all you Victorians kidding, pulling our legs.
 
All you have to do in AFL is kick a ball and most of your players can not do that properly just look at why you have an extra two posts for those kicks that miss the goal, if the behind posts were not there you would have scores not much better than soccer/football.
 
In rugby league you actually need to use your skills to get through defences, AFL is a childs game which only sees a bunch of grown men following the ball and kicking it and maybe taking a mark every now and then.
 
If by meaning that it is less physical, less strength orientated and less skill required you are saying it is a better game to play well yeah you are right I mean you can not even use the hip & shoulder anymore you have become so sanitised.
 
If your game is so much better than league and union then why is it not played around the world.
 
Even the as you say really poor, no skill needed league has comps overseas tell me where the overseas comps for AFL are, China, US Fiji where?
 
Folau is no problem going but if Inglis goes to Essendon then we can start to panic. 
 
Having said all that above I do actually like AFL, and appreciate the athleticism of those who do play the sport.
 
If you want further proof that league players are  talented watch the Gillette Athlete Sports challenge and see how the union and league players have gone compared to the AFL players.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 8:30pm
this whole thing has been instigated by nsw rugby league to remove all the qld stars so they can win an origin series sometime in the next 4 years.
 
seriously, i love how all the "experts" and non expert morons like posters on this forum are saying he will flop and won't cope.
 
what would you know, i would say most of you wouldn't know much about league, and certainly none of you would have played the game.
 
as a qlder who has played all football codes, it really isn't that hard to pick up afl if you are given the right direction and training. the leagueys are going to have to train their bodies for aerobic conditioning, and learn alot about the game. they will struggle with tackling as the head high rule and in the back is a bit confusing at the start.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scamanda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 9:25pm
Folau getting 1.3M per year + for 3 years compared to the AFL stars salaries is a slap in the face for AFL players in general.

And it shows just how weak the AFL players are.
They should all be putting their hands out for more. And even considering some upheaval.

Anyone who has played both Rugby League and AFL will tell you to take a mark in each game is totally different.
Folau's 'marks' in league are either in defence where he is covering only a small area of the field, or in attack where he is attacking with a game plan.
In AFL the great marks are the ones that are taken when you least expect them.

As I said before. He can go and won't be missed.
Either will Inglis , Hunt and company.
The NRL has more talent lining up week after week in Toyota Cup than they can handle so the places will be filled easily.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TIGER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 11:39pm

Its no wonder the AFL hasnt tried to poach any netballers or basketballers

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maccamax2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 1:02am
What a great laugh really..... Elite Sportsmen will adapt to similar codes real quick I would imagine .
 AFL wasn't played in my area of rearing but I see it requires the skills and endurance of the League Players so some similarity.....They might have trouble learning to behave like "King Hit" HALL and "Wicked Wayne " Carey but I expect them to do well at the game.LOL
 Must be hard on the true blue AFL players in the top bracket to have earned thier stripes in solid combat and now see imports who have never played the bluddy game getting all the money....LOLLOLLOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 1:22am
Originally posted by scamanda scamanda wrote:

Folau getting 1.3M per year + for 3 years compared to the AFL stars salaries is a slap in the face for AFL players in general.

And it shows just how weak the AFL players are.
They should all be putting their hands out for more. And even considering some upheaval.

Anyone who has played both Rugby League and AFL will tell you to take a mark in each game is totally different.
Folau's 'marks' in league are either in defence where he is covering only a small area of the field, or in attack where he is attacking with a game plan.
In AFL the great marks are the ones that are taken when you least expect them.

As I said before. He can go and won't be missed.
Either will Inglis , Hunt and company.
The NRL has more talent lining up week after week in Toyota Cup than they can handle so the places will be filled easily.

why can't people get it through their head that the money is marketing money, not playing ability money.
 
how many people do you reckon izzy will drag through the gates when he starts playing afl?
how many of those people would have played or been to an afl game before?
do you reckon if chris judd left the blues and went to gws you would get those same people turning up to watch afl? they don't know who judd is, but they do know who izzy is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TIGER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 2:20am
Izzy wont bring in the revenue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scamanda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 6:48am
Originally posted by scoot scoot wrote:

Originally posted by scamanda scamanda wrote:

Folau getting 1.3M per year + for 3 years compared to the AFL stars salaries is a slap in the face for AFL players in general.

And it shows just how weak the AFL players are.
They should all be putting their hands out for more. And even considering some upheaval.

Anyone who has played both Rugby League and AFL will tell you to take a mark in each game is totally different.
Folau's 'marks' in league are either in defence where he is covering only a small area of the field, or in attack where he is attacking with a game plan.
In AFL the great marks are the ones that are taken when you least expect them.

As I said before. He can go and won't be missed.
Either will Inglis , Hunt and company.
The NRL has more talent lining up week after week in Toyota Cup than they can handle so the places will be filled easily.

why can't people get it through their head that the money is marketing money, not playing ability money.
 
how many people do you reckon izzy will drag through the gates when he starts playing afl?
how many of those people would have played or been to an afl game before?
do you reckon if chris judd left the blues and went to gws you would get those same people turning up to watch afl? they don't know who judd is, but they do know who izzy is.



Why can't you understand that Folau is getting the cash. And he doesn't warrant it.
If your an avid AFL fan you should be up in arms over the cash being paid to an untried player.

The AFL players should all be looking at Folau as a target because he gets 1.3 M a year.
LOL That's right, they can't tackle.
Send in Barry Hall.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 10:58pm
Originally posted by scamanda scamanda wrote:

 

 

Why can't you understand that Folau is getting the cash. And he doesn't warrant it.
If your an avid AFL fan you should be up in arms over the cash being paid to an untried player.

The AFL players should all be looking at Folau as a target because he gets 1.3 M a year.
LOL That's right, they can't tackle.
Send in Barry Hall.LOL
if he pulls in an average extra 5,000 people per home game, at $40 a ticket, that is $2.2m in the first season alone. add in merchandise, additional sponsors cashing in on the hype, pre season games, functions etc, he is certainly earning his money.
 
look at tiger woods. was it worth 3mill to bring him out to australia? being 10 times more expensive then the next golfer, he should have won by 10 times as much right? or was it money well spent becuase he increased the profile and publicity surrounding the event and attracted more people/sponsors.
 
you really come accross as though you don't really know what you are talking about.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 11:22pm
scamada, heard the AFL player development guy on the radio last week. Folau is an average wage (aprox 250k p.a). On top of this he is getting paid a fee (300 - 700k p.a ??) to market the game in GWS.

dont get confused about his game salary and his marketing salary. they are separate.

imo, he will be an above average AFL player if he sticks at it for 5 years. dont undersell the ability of clubs these days to develop players. their are alot of club resources spent in player development and Folau will have a team working on him 24/7.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2018 at 10:28pm

People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that.

 

I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily.

 

I understand a lot of people won’t agree with some of the things I’m about to write.

 

That’s absolutely fine. In life, you are allowed to agree to disagree.

 

But I would like to explain to you what I believe in, how I arrived at these beliefs and why I will not compromise my faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.

 

I hope this will provide some context to the discussion that started with my reply to a question asked of me on Instagram two weeks ago.

 

I read the Bible every day. It gives me a sense of peace I have not been able to find in any other area of my life. It gives me direction. It answers my questions.

 

I believe that it is a loving gesture to share passages from the Bible with others. I do it all the time when people ask me questions about my faith or things relating to their lives, whether that’s in-person or on my social media accounts.

 

Two weeks ago I tore my hamstring quite badly in the opening minutes against the Brumbies. I was told I would be on the sideline for a month. Finding out I would miss three or four games so early in the season was disappointing and frustrating, but I accepted the news and started looking ahead.

 

That afternoon I put up the following Instagram post, referring to James 1: 2-4:

 

Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, because the testing of your faith produces endurance … so that you may be lacking in nothing.

 

In the comments section of that post, I was asked a question by somebody about what God’s plan is for gay people.

 

My response to the question is what I believe God’s plan is for all sinners, according to my understanding of my Bible teachings, specifically 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10:

 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

I do not know the person who asked the question, but that didn’t matter. I believed he was looking for guidance and I answered him honestly and from the heart. I know a lot of people will find that difficult to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be difficult to hear.

 

I think of it this way: you see someone who is about to walk into a hole and have the chance to save him. He might be determined to maintain his course and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say. But if you don’t tell him the truth, as unpopular as it might be, he is going to fall into that hole. What do you do?

 

In this case, we are talking about sin as the Bible describes it, not just homosexuality, which I think has been lost on a lot of people.

 

There are many sins outlined in that passage from 1 Corinthians and I have been guilty of committing some of them myself.

 

No man or woman is different from another – if you sin, which we all do, and do not repent and seek forgiveness, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

As it is written in Acts 2:38:

 

Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

I believe when Jesus died on the cross for us, it gave us all the opportunity to accept and believe in Him if we wanted to. To enter the kingdom of Heaven, though, we must try our best to follow His teachings and, when we fall short, to seek His forgiveness.

 

 

BREAK ME DOWN, BUILD ME UP

It wasn’t always this way for me.

 

I grew up in the Mormon church but, like a lot of kids, I didn’t really pay all that much attention.

 

I went to church on Sundays because that’s what my parents expected. I didn’t want to disappoint them. It was box ticking, pretty much.

 

We left the Mormon faith in 2009. As much as I might not have been the most devout follower out there, I always believed in God, so it left a huge void in my life.

 

I tried to fill it with other things. Alcohol. Women. Sins.

 

I was playing in the NRL at 17 and, soon after, playing Origin and Test footy.

 

That opened me to a world of temptation I had never been exposed to before. I had the means to indulge in that, but not the wisdom to understand what it really meant.

 

Often during this period I felt I was losing control of who I was and what I wanted to be. It was all ego and no humility.

 

But despite living this materialistic life, I still felt empty.

 

I would wake up on a Sunday morning and think, ‘This isn’t me’. And yet I would do it again the next week. And the week after that. It was a cycle of sin that was getting me nowhere.

 

The big change happened with the move to Greater Western Sydney.

 

With one signature, I went from the top of the NRL to the bottom of the AFL.

 

I have written before about the reasons why I signed with the Giants, but not so much the way it made me feel at the time.

 

I’ll be honest: I would be driving to training most days thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ It kept me up a lot of nights.

 

I was doing what I thought was best for my family, but the reality of the situation – that I wasn’t very good at this new sport – made me upset.

 

All I had wanted to do in life was play in the NRL. Now I had made a decision to leave that all behind and live a new life to appease other people.

 

It left me emotionally broken.

 

It was around this time I started attending a new church where I experienced God’s love for the first time in my life. That’s when I started to realise this was all part of God’s plan for me.

 

I had been hiding my inner thoughts and feelings from everyone around me, but God could see into my heart.

 

He had to break me down in order to build me up again into the person He wanted me to be. It all suddenly made sense.

 

I have tried to live my life in God’s footsteps ever since. I follow his teachings and read the Bible all the time in order to learn and become a better person.

 

Since that happened I have been at peace and enjoyed life with an open, honest heart, which is why my faith in Jesus comes first.

 

I would sooner lose everything – friends, family, possessions, my football career, the lot – and still stand with Jesus, than have all of those things and not stand beside Him.

 

 

THE MEETING

As you have probably read, last week I met with Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle and Waratahs general manager Andrew Hore.

 

During the meeting I told them it was never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram comment, but that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe.

 

They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand.

 

I acknowledge Raelene and Andrew have to run things in a way that appeals broadly to their executive, fans and sponsors, as well as its players and staff. It is a business.

 

I didn’t agree with Bill Pulver taking a stance on the same sex marriage vote on behalf of the whole organisation, but I understand the reasons behind why he did.

 

After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian Rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately.

 

I feel I need to explain this part in more detail because at no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen.

 

There have been things written about me angling to get a release from my Rugby Australia deal to pursue an NRL contract. That simply isn’t true. There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia.

 

This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.

 

After the meeting I went home, turned on the TV and was really disappointed with some of the things that were said in the press conference.

 

I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.

 

That aside, I hope Raelene and Andrew appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs.

I love rugby union. It has allowed me to travel all over the world and meet some fascinating people along the way.

 

It is one of the best things about the game in my opinion.

 

I do not want to bring hurt to the game and want as many people playing it as possible, so when I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldn’t come to an understanding.

 

I used to believe I was defined by my actions on the footy field, but I see now that’s not true.

 

 

GOD CAN SEE FROM BEGINNING TO END

Anyone who knows me knows I am not the type to upset people intentionally.

 

Since my social media posts were publicised it has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people.

 

This could not be further from the truth.

 

I fronted the cover of the Star Observer Magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women. I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone.

 

With everything that has been said and written, many people over the past six months have told me they think I am wrong, either to my face or via social media.

 

I won’t to go into the specifics – some of it has been pretty heavy, and from people close to me – but they let it be known that their views differed from mine.

 

I don’t have any issue with this.

 

Every individual in this world is different and we have all experienced things that have shaped us in unique ways.

 

I don’t expect everyone to believe what I believe. That goes for teammates, friends and even family members, some of whom are gay.

 

I don’t pretend to have all the answers in life. It can be difficult making the right decisions.

 

You are always trying to reconcile the truth from the Bible with things you feel inside. But I have faith that God’s path is the right one and that path is outlined in the Bible. I will keep sharing that.

 

One of God’s commandments is to, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’. In other words, God loves each and every one of us. He just doesn’t love the sin we live in.

 

That is what Jesus died for, to give us a chance to be forgiven.

 

If you choose to believe in Him, repent, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the removal of your sins, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That will enable you to live the life that God has called us to live.

 

God can see from beginning to end. I can’t. There’s a big element of trust in that and sometimes you have to give up the things you really want in order to please God.

 

I trust that He knows what is best for me. He knows the future. He knows how it is all meant to play out.

 

At times, you can feel alone and down. But Jesus told us that when you stand up for Him in this world, you can expect backlash. I find peace in that.

 

As testing as it can be standing up for what you believe in, the Bible tells us it will be worth it in the end.

 

Israel Folau  -  Founding Contributor


Read more at https://www.playersvoice.com.au/israel-folau-im-a-sinner-too/#XJ3bsAewzUj4s6H1.99


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