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Izzy greedy? I reckon

Date

Chris Dutton

Saturday Serve

<i>Illustration: Edd Aragon.</i>

Illustration: Edd Aragon.

Sorry, Israel, there's only room for one mercenary in rugby league and Sonny Bill Williams has already filled the spot.

In true cash-grabbing fashion, news broke on Friday afternoon that Israel Folau's NRL return was dead in the water.

And the only shame about the whole situation is that at some point in the future Folau will again be linked to a comeback and rugby league will throw open the doors for the former Australian and Queensland star.

There's no doubt Folau is talented.

Any rugby league or rugby union club would love to have a player of his calibre at their disposal.

But no one knows when a line will be drawn to take the power away from superstars of the game as they try to make as much money as they can.

Folau's party will blame the NRL for refusing to register his whopping salary.

The NRL will say he was asking for too much.

And the fans are left in the middle scratching their heads wondering how it all came about.

It didn't take long for rumours to circulate about where Folau's next destination would be.

Within five minutes of the news breaking, The Canberra Times was contacted to ask if the ACT Brumbies had snared his signature.

For the record, we asked the Brumbies. They said no. They've got their 35 players and they're happy.

But if Folau did sign here, how would he be received?

At just 23 years old Folau has already shown his cards and where his loyalty is.

When the AFL came knocking with a multimillion-dollar deal, he took the cheque.

When he got a handful of kicks and struggled to touch the ball in his dismal games, he decided to go back to league … presumably because he knew he was still worth some pretty decent cash in league or union.

His next home will last for a year or two, then someone else will table a monster deal and he'll be gone.

It is players like Folau and Sonny Bill Williams who are giving professional sportsmen a bad rap.

Maybe we should give Ricky Ponting the job of teaching them how to act now that he's retiring.

Apparently Punter turned down the chance for a home farewell in Hobart because he knew his time was now.

That takes guts. More guts than it takes to fill your pockets with money.

I'm a big fan of the way Ponting has handled himself - minus a few on-field and off-field indiscretions - during his career.

He'll go down as the greatest batsman since Sir Donald Bradman and he's earned the respect of fans and opponents.

I was lucky enough to be at the SCG when he scored a drought-breaking century at the start of the year.

Now he deserves to go out with a century in each innings in Perth, a victory and the world No. 1 ranking.

Emotional retirements have always made people do funny things in sport.

So when Ponting announced he was hanging up his tattered baggy green for the last time, all the scrutiny and pressure he'd been under for almost three years was forgotten.

The tributes started flowing. And they won't stop until he walks off the WACA Ground for the last time.

Lucky for Canberrans, we'll get to see his last big match at Manuka Oval when he leads the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies.

And if you do believe in fairytale finishes, prepare for another century in the first match under lights at Manuka.

Campo's sexist jibe opens up a can of worms

David Campese got me thinking this week.

If he reckons girls shouldn't be allowed to report on rugby, I wonder how he feels about blokes writing stories on women's basketball and soccer.

Most of you probably haven't seen Jon Tuxworth around the capital, but I can reveal he's never played in the WNBL and his free-throw technique belongs in the under-seven games at Belconnen Basketball Stadium.

Despite the lack of talent in basketball, the Canberra Capitals have never questioned his place as a reporter.

Everyone knows Campese was out of line. Even when he tried to defend his jibe at Sydney Morning Herald scribe Georgina Robinson, he only succeeded in digging his hole deeper.

But what shocked me most in the sexism and misogyny rants was when a reader contacted The Canberra Times to tell us the sport section should be called ''Men's Sport''.

Sure, we do run plenty of stories on male sports.

But The Canberra Times is a finalist at the Australian Sports Commission awards in Sydney next week in the category of - yep, you guessed it - best coverage of women's sport.

I guess we're just lucky Carrie Graf and Jitka Klimkova don't challenge us to get on the basketball court or soccer field. If they did, our serious lack of talent would be exposed.

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