Folau's league reunion ends badly

IF money is the root of all evil, then Israel Folau might replace the devil in the eyes of many rugby league fans.

In case you missed it, Folau last Friday turned his back on the NRL for the second time in three years in order to take up a one-year deal with Super Rugby franchise NSW Waratahs.

Or it might have been the constant thoughts of the wooden spoon that he inevitably would’ve won with the Eels next season that gave him cold feet.

One thing is for sure – Folau doesn’t look good through all of this. 

The former Melbourne Storm star’s move to rugby has been met with a mixed reception. Some say he won’t be able to cope with union’s more complex set of rules. Others insist he’ll be a Wallabies winger within a year.

My understanding is that Izzy played union as a kid in Sydney’s south west and he did, after all, switch rugby league for Aussie rules. For that reason, I’m confident Folau will cope. Whether he’ll excel in union, I’m not so sure and I don’t agree with him getting a free pass into the Wallabies.

As for the NRL, I think the league and its fans should move on and forget the whole saga and Folau should never be allowed back. Ever. Not as a player, not as a trainer, and especially not as a Channel Nine commentator (I use that word loosely) once his playing days are behind him.

I wouldn’t be surprised to soon see Folau’s name alongside Quade Cooper’s on a Sonny Bill Williams undercard. But only if it pays well. 

PUNTER SAYS FAREWELL IN PERTH

A glorious era came to an end on Monday.

We are all now living in a world where Ricky Ponting is no longer playing in the Australian cricket team.

It feels weird when you think about it.

Punter was dismissed for just eight runs at the WACA on Monday after an emotional press conference was called last week to announce this would be his last ever Test match.

In fairness, it would’ve required one of Ponting’s best ever knocks, and then some, to rescue the deciding Test against South Africa. 

His retirement came at the right time. As brilliant as he has been for our country, Ponting’s form has been on a steady decline in recent times and after his efforts in Perth over the past few days (scores of four and eight), it was likely he may have been dropped from the team anyway.

I’m glad he got to go out on his own terms, he deserved it. 

From his famous pull shot, to his wickedly accurate throwing arm, to his unrivalled fielding abilities, Ponting has given us some great memories throughout his illustrious career, which spanned a record-equalling 168 Test matches.

Farewell Punter, you will rightfully go down as the best Australian batsman of the modern era.

SOCCEROOS NO KINGS OF KONG

Things almost got embarrassing for the Socceroos on Monday night. 

A late winner from veteran Brett Emerton was needed to secure a 1-nil victory over minnows Hong Kong in the first of four East Asian Cup qualifiers – all of which will be played this week.

In fairness, it was probably Australia’s eighth or ninth choice starting line-up that took to the field (which, for the record, was one of the worst I have ever seen in the history of professional soccer) in Hong Kong, but still even that group of players should be easing past a side ranked no.172 in the world.

Emerton’s goal was all class, though – a left-footed curler from the edge of the box.

The Aussies take on North Korea tonight in their second qualifying match.

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