Off the Wall

It is a pity readers in New South Wales don't get to listen to the weekly commentary on sport on Brisbane radio by Leigh Matthews.

If they did they would have enjoyed the recent "AFL character reference" he gave Israel Folau.

Lucky Folau would not have heard it because it was blistering.

Leigh Matthews is not just one of the greatest AFL players and coaches of all time, he has an extraordinary knowledge of sport generally.

And he seems to be a rather avid follower of the greatest game of all.

Having witnessed Folau in trial matches, Matthews came to the conclusion that he did not have a clue - and probably never would have!

And his subsequent comments were just as robust.

His basic assessment was that Folau should go back to league, or union, because he would just not make the grade in the AFL.

Today Folau hardly makes it any easier by his statement, though hardly revealing, in the "Australian" today that he would still be playing rugby league were it not for the financial riches the AFL offered him.

I seem to recall he originally said he was switching for the "challenge".

He trotted out the nonsense that he also needed to look after his family.

And he couldn't look after his family on the $450,000/$500,000 plus endorsement money he would have earned in the NRL?

Give me a break!

The AFL experiment has been very costly. The established AFL clubs are not happy.

Our Western Sydney NRL clubs should be cautious, but not alarmed.

That is provided the clubs, and the ARLC, make the right call by putting money into grass roots development, to at least part match what the AFL is splashing out.

When the Swans were moved to Sydney, and the Bears/Lions to Brisbane, I can recall the alarm bells being rung by NRL clubs.

Both have had zero impact on the Broncos.....and the Swans don't seem to have hurt NRL clubs unduly. Other factors have done so.

The Gold Coast Suns may present a problem for the Titans - but that is because the Titans are struggling financially, and the Gold Coast economy is in dire straits.

I would much rather be guided by the assessment of Leigh Matthews.

And the great man's view is that if GWS make an impact, Israel Folau will have made only the marginal contribution.

Marginal - but very expensive.

Long may it continue!

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