Israel Folau
Israel Folau

Greater Western Sydney list manager Stephen Silvagni says maligned NRL convert Israel Folau simply needs more time to develop.

Folau has come under fire for underperforming in his debut AFL season, with calls for him to walk away from Aussie Rules and return to rugby league.

But Silvagni, a member of the AFL Team of the Century and Hall of Fame, said Folau deserved to be cut some slack.

"He's a player who's in his first year as an AFL player," Silvagni told ''SEN''.

"If you do a little bit of research and homework and you have a look at other talls at other clubs in their first year, they really don't start to play some reasonable football until their third year."

Folau has played 12 games and kicked just one goal this season, prompting former North Melbourne and Geelong forward Cameron Mooney to declare his code switch a failure.

"He just doesn't know how to compete. He doesn't know where to run and he doesn't know what to do out there," Mooney said on ''SEN''.

But Giants coach Kevin Sheedy was quick to respond on Twitter, comparing Folau's first year in the AFL with Mooney's at the Kangaroos in 1999.

"Mooney's average disposals in first year for NM in 1999 were 3.3 compared to Izzy 5.9 in his first year," he tweeted.

"Mooney had 29 hit outs and took 14 marks in 1999. Izzy has had 61 hit outs and taken 20 marks so far this year.

"All this in a side that has won two games as opposed to a premiership. By my calculations Izzy has had a better debut year than Mooney."

Meanwhile, the Giants have ruled four more players out for the rest of the season due to injury.

Jacob Townsend (groin), Sam Schulz (shoulder), Kurt Aylett (knee) and Liam Sumner (quad) have all been sidelined, though co-captain Callan Ward is expected to return against St Kilda on Saturday after missing two weeks with a groin problem.


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