Former teammate drops $4 million Israel Folau truth bomb

Rugby League star Israel Folau's venture into the AFL was essentially a multi-million dollar failure.

A superstar in the NRL at the time, Folau turned heads after turning his back on league and agreeing to a three-year deal to join Greater Western Sydney in 2011, for more than $4 million.

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Big things were expected of an athlete who'd established himself as one of the most dominant in rugby league.

However, the skills that helped propel Folau to the top echelons of rugby league (and later rugby union), simply didn't translate into the world of AFL.

Israel Folau walked out on GWS after two mediocre seasons in the AFL. Pic: Getty

After just two seasons in which Folau failed to establish himself amongst the stars of AFL, he decided on another code switch.

Now, inaugural GWS best-and-fairest winner Callan Ward - a teammate of Folau's - said he was never convinced the star had what it takes to succeed in AFL.

Ward said on Fox Footy’s Open Mike that he "really liked" Folau but when it came to analysing his impact on the code, the compliments dried up completely.

“He gave it a crack, he was a good bloke, I just honestly didn’t think he’d make it.”

Inaugural GWS coach Kevin Sheedy always insisted that Folau could have made it in AFL, had he not decided to switch codes again.

Sheedy referred to Folau's 'Hoover hands' - his ability to suck up the footy off the ground - convinced the cross-code star had all the attributes to become an AFL success.

However, Ward told Mike Sheahan that he didn't agree with Sheedy's views about Folau's AFL ability.

Inaugural GWS coach Kevin Sheedy is convinced Israel Folau could have succeeded in AFL. Pic: Getty

“He improved so much in terms of his fitness and understanding football … but he was a long way off.

“He was our worst runner by a long way, and he’d improved so much with his running.

“I know you don’t always need to be a good runner to play footy, but his game sense and awareness wasn’t there, his kicking was not too bad, but it wasn’t good.

“I just didn’t think he’d make it, to put it simply.”

Baby news set to brighten Folau’s life

The stinging criticism of Folau's AFL ability will be the least of the star's concerns right now, after he and wife Maria announced they're expecting a baby.

As first reported by the Daily Telegraph, Maria is said to be in her second trimester of pregnancy and the couple are expecting a baby later this year.

Israel and Maria are currently based in France after the former Wallaby’s controversial move to the Catalans Dragons in the Super League.

“But word from Folau’s inner circle is the couple will return to Australia to have the baby later this year, as NRL clubs wait to pounce for his impending resurrection,” the Telegraph reports.

Israel was sacked by Rugby Australia last May for making homophobic comments on social media.