Former Essendon and Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy has made the extraordinary suggestion that the Giants should consider bringing Israel Folau back to AFL.
Folau played 13 games and kicked just two goals in a largely failed AFL career, which cost the league over $1 million a year, before quitting the sport citing a lack of passion.
However, Sheedy, who coached the Giants in their inaugural season in the league, says the club should bring the now New South Wales Waratahs and Wallabies star back to the AFL for a second stint.
Sheedy believes Folau could still be a “top class” player, with his chances of succeeding far higher now playing in a more experienced side.
“If it was me I’d still try and get Izzy Folau back. He was handed the harshest contract of all – come and learn to play AFL in the youngest, worst team ever,” Sheedy said.
“Put him in a terrific side, which they have now, just imagine Israel Folau when they’ve all peaked in a year or two.
“Then he would be the modern-day evangelist.”
Sheedy also suggested Folau, who played mostly as a forward, was played out of position during his time at the Giants.
“Give the ball to Izzy Folau coming out of defence and people will go ‘wow’,” Sheedy said.
“Izzy Folau will cut a swathe through them. He’ll be like Michael Jackson coming out of the back line.
“Do we have the audacity and courage to stick a guy like him at centre half-back and teach him how to play, work off a player then run and receive and rebound?
“He can be anything that bloke. Don’t think he can’t play AFL. Izzy Folau was one of the best talents I’ve ever seen run out on a footy field.”
Folau, now 27, is still contracted with the Australian Rugby Union until the end of 2018.