AFL rounded out Israel Folau - Kevin Sheedy
July 6, 2013
Israel Folau displays his aerial skills © Getty Images
Israel Folau's two-year stint in AFL helped to develop him into the complete package for the Wallabies, Greater Western Sydney Giants coach Kevin Sheedy says.
Sheedy will coach Folau's AFL side, the Giants, against Western Bulldogs in Canberra on Saturday before "definitely tuning in" to watch his protege play the biggest game of his rugby career for Australia in the Tom Richards Cup series-deciding Test against the British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
"Israel's been fantastic, absolutely fantastic," Sheedy said. "I texted him and just told him to `keep running, keep running and keep the excitement going for your fans'."
Sheedy said he believed Folau's two-year stint in the AFL after leaving the NRL helped to turn him into the try-scoring machine he has become for New South Wales Waratahs and the Wallabies.
"Just speaking to some of the NRL boys and rugby boys at the senior level, they feel that AFL just topped him off," he said. "We do a lot of ball handling. We do a lot of running. We do a lot of visual training where you've got to see your targets coming at you. But the one thing we didn't teach him was his cutting [stepping] skills around players. He always had that."
Sheedy added that Folau's AFL stint had also made him a more rounded player off the field. "It's about professional maturity and understanding different sports tactics and training techniques," he said.
AFL didn't teach Israel Folau his stepping skills © Getty Images
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies