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The real deal: secret $400k boost lured Izzy to Waratahs


Roy Masters

Looking up ... Israel Folau in his first training session at Moore Park since joining the Waratahs following his stint with AFL new boys Western Sydney.

Looking up ... Israel Folau in his first training session at Moore Park since joining the Waratahs following his stint with AFL new boys Western Sydney. Photo: Anthony Johnson

WHEN footballers say ''it is not about the money'', it invariably is.

What hasn't been disclosed in Israel Folau's one-year Waratahs deal is a secret top-up of $400,000 from the ARU.

Folau's manager, Isaac Moses, is happy for the public to believe Folau is being paid only $250,000 by the Waratahs, in an attempt to avoid any perception his client is a money hungry, code-hopping mercenary.

Israel Folau in his first training session with the Waratahs. Click for more photos

Israel Folau's first training run with Waratahs

Tah man ... Israel Folau trains with teammates at NSW Waratahs for the first time. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Despite Moses's denials that Folau is receiving a top-up, the Herald understands he will receive $400,000 from the ARU in addition to the Waratahs $250,000, meaning he will receive $650,000 for his year in rugby union.

The union's acting chief executive, Matt Carroll, refused to comment on Folau's top-up, saying: ''We never have and never will divulge what we pay.''

The Waratahs chief executive, Jason Allen, said: ''The ARU have definitely assisted us but don't declare the amount with us. It's their choice to talk about salaries.''

The $400,000 top-up is at the high end of the scale, consistent with the amount paid to rugby league defectors Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Mat Rogers, who switched at the peak of their careers.

Folau has wasted two years in AFL land, losing confidence and tackling/passing skills, as well as about 10 kilograms of muscle mass, although Allen points out the ARU are also looking at him as a sevens player.

The ARU payment to Folau is guaranteed to cause rumblings among Australia's Super 15 teams, with players warned the code is tightening its belt and imposing a salary cap.

If the Wallabies are furious at Folau receiving $650,000, they will be feral at the knowledge Queensland Reds player Quade Cooper will earn a minimum $750,000 next year .

Thursday's press conference announcing an extension of Cooper's contract did not mention an ARU top-up of $350,000 to his $400,000 deal with the Reds. The top-up is exclusive of match payments.

That's the reward you get for referring to the Wallabies' culture under coach Robbie Deans as ''toxic''.

Cooper's manager, Khoder Nasser, and Moses - neither of whom are accredited with either the ARU or NRL - have been able to sell the idea their clients were coveted by NRL clubs.

St George Illawarra did not make an offer for Folau, yet the media reported he rejected the Dragons because he did not want to travel far from his west Sydney home.

Kellyville to Kogarah compared with Kellyville to Waratahs headquarters at Moore Park? Isn't there a back road to WIN Stadium in Wollongong?

Yet the public are expected to believe Folau wanted to stay close to his parents, despite being offered a mint by the Dragons when, in fact, no offer was made.

Sure, Folau's initial dealings with Parramatta were choked in NRL red tape, with Ian Schubert pricing him at $400,000 for salary cap purposes and refusing to back-load the deal.

Eventually, Schubert made a more realistic valuation of $250,000 and approved higher payments in the final years of the deal.

Folau blamed this vacillation for his rejection of the Eels deal but the reality is he will receive more in 2013 from the Waratahs than Parramatta, and he can join the Bulldogs in 2014 where the chief executive, Todd Greenberg, is best mates with Moses.

Yet the public has been told by Greater Western Sydney Giants' lunar coach, Kevin Sheedy, that Folau went to rugby because the NRL would have demanded he bag AFL.

The softly spoken, god-fearing Folau was unsuited to a crusade to convert people to AFL and incapable of broadcasting any mischief about it.

This is not to say he isn't calculating and considered when switching between locations and codes. His big career decisions go hand-in-hand with real estate manoeuvres.

The Storm were very upset when he left to play with the Broncos. Folau told Storm coach Craig Bellamy that his father, Eni Limoni Folau, dictated the move. Bellamy approached the father who said: ''It's Izzy's decision.''

A home in Brisbane was bought on behalf of the Folau family before Israel joined the Broncos; it was sold to Israel's parents for $350,000 two weeks after Israel played his last game for the Storm, the 2008 grand final. When Israel announced his AFL deal, ownership transferred again to Folau Investments whose directors are Israel and his father.

On October 31, 2010, Folau Investments bought a Kellyville property for $773,000 and the star's family live there. On November 18, 2010, Izzy began training with the Giants.

If Folau is very measured in what he does, maybe the ARU directors are as well. It's been pointed out to the Herald that the Mark Arbib report on governance is yet to be approved by the ARU board. It requires the support of the biggest vote holders, NSW and Queensland.

Their respective Super 15 teams have just landed two marquee players, Folau and Cooper, raising the question: at what price comes governance? Carroll scoffs at this linkage, saying: ''It is just a convergence of circumstances. The Quade Cooper contract took longer to be finalised than it should have. NSW and the Waratahs are separate entities. The Waratahs don't get a vote.

''It's just timing.''

Isn't it ever.

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Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Tonga 2 1 1 0 7 6
Argentina 2 1 1 0 35 5
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Ireland 2 2 0 0 77 10
Italy 2 1 1 0 -17 4
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
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