Famous football code switchers
Karmichael Hunt ... the young Broncos league star signed with the Gold Coast AFL team in July 2009, leaving Brisbane at the end of last season. Still in the transition to aussie rules, Hunt played rugby in France during the 2009-2010 season. Photo: Bradley Kanaris
1. How can the Eels fit him under the salary cap?
Folau is likely to be one of the highest paid players in the NRL - but not next year. For Parramatta to accommodate him, he will have to commit to a long-term deal as the club's roster is largely settled for next season. By doing that, the Eels can back-end the contract so he receives more in the following seasons. Folau won't be badly out of pocket as it's believed he received a payout on the remaining two years of his GWS contract, which was heavily subsidised by the AFL. With English second-rower Gareth Hock also close to signing, Parramatta may have to release some players.
2. Which position would he play?
High hopes ... Israel Folau of the Maroons jumps high for the ball to score a try during match three of the 2008 ARL State of Origin. Photo: Getty Images
Ricky Stuart may draw inspiration from Greg Inglis’s successful move to fullback and hand Folau the Eels’ No.1 jersey. Before he switched to AFL last year, Folau was playing centre for Brisbane and wing for Queensland and Australia. However, at fullback he could be more involved and the move would enable Stuart to shift Jarryd Hayne to five-eighth, where he has always felt the 24-year-old was better suited.
3. What does he have to do to adjust to playing NRL?
Folau will have to bulk up during the off-season as he has shed seven kilograms and changed his body shape to suit AFL. When he left the Broncos in 2010, Folau was 105kg but he is now about 98kg and has trimmed down in his upper body and legs. To cope with the physical contact in league, he will need to build back up in those areas through an off-season program focused more on weights than running.
4. Can he be as good a player as he was after two years in AFL?
Folau has lost none of the attributes that earned him a place in history as the youngest Australian representative and may even have a few more. Few will forget the stunning try he scored in the third game of the 2008 Origin series when he leapt above NSW winger Anthony Quinn to grab the ball, but Folau didn't have a kicking game. AFL will have taught him that, while his aerobic fitness will be greater than it was previously due to the amount of running AFL players do.
5. Will it be an issue that his agent's accreditation is suspended?
Folau's manager, Isaac Moses, lost an appeal last week against a six-month ban imposed by the Rugby League Accredited Player Agent Committee and is not able to represent players or negotiate with clubs before March 28. However, another representative of the Titan Management team can finalise the deal with the Eels or Folau could do it himself, as has happened in numerous other instances. The most recent example was Scott Prince, who this week secured a release from Gold Coast and signed with the Broncos. Prince's former agent Steve Robinson is no longer accredited as he is a Penrith director and acted as his financial adviser.