Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says Israel Folau's decision to walk away early from AFL was a 'no-brainer'. Photo: Pat Scala
MICK MALTHOUSE has called the release of Israel Folau halfway through his four-year contract a ''no-brainer'' for Greater Western Sydney, saying it opens up a convenient hole in the salary cap for the Giants to recruit key forward Kurt Tippett.
The three-time premiership-winning coach thinks the loss of Folau, recruited from rugby league with a big pay cheque to raise the profile of AFL in western Sydney, is no big deal.
''It's a great convenience for Greater Western Sydney, him out of the salary cap and Tippett in,'' he said.
''It's a no-brainer - one wasn't equipped for the game and the other one's a very good footballer.''
Malthouse, who was in Canberra on Saturday signing copies of his newly released biography, said he did not think Folau proved to be a good promoter of the game. ''Not really, I wouldn't have thought so,'' he said. ''I admire him for changing over, he's got some great athletic ability, but he wasn't born with a football in his hands, and it was always going to be very, very difficult, the way I saw it, to adjust to the game. You can see that he was really struggling with the mechanics of the game, where to get, where to stand, how to react to the game. Now that he's decided to leave … it's a great opportunity now for GWS to open up that salary-cap hole for Tippett.''
Malthouse officially takes the reins at Carlton on Monday, but despite the long line of Canberrans queuing to get their copy of his biography autographed at Dymocks Belconnen on Saturday, he said the decision on whether Carlton would play in the capital was not up to him.
With the Blues finishing 10th in the premiership race last season, Malthouse's priority is returning them to the top eight.
''It's going to be a big challenge, a massive challenge, but I took Collingwood over when they were on the bottom, West Coast were 11th of 14 clubs, and Bulldogs were well down the ladder, so it's not foreign to take on challenges, and this one will be a beauty.''
The Carlton job is the epilogue to Malthouse: A Football Life, a ''warts-and-all'' story of his life in football, written by his daughter Christi Malthouse in the year following his departure from Collingwood after its 2011 grand final loss to Geelong.
''It's our family's life in football, so it's dad's journey in football, his career and his early start in football, right through to even now, getting back into Carlton,'' Christi said. ''It is written through my eyes, so it includes the private side of football as well that you rarely get to hear about. It's a very honest book, we've been totally honest.''