Young Folau to debut for NYC
Tuesday 10 April 2012 3:53 PM
The Pirtek Parramatta Eels' Toyota Cup side features five other 17-year-old young guns still eligible for SG Ball this year, but it's unlikely they'll attract as much attention as debutant John Folau.
The younger brother of former Test and Origin centre Israel pulls on the Blue and Gold for the Eels' Toyota Cup team this weekend against the Sharks.
It caps two strong seasons in the Eels' junior representative system for the tall and powerful centre, and is in line with the Club's vision of early promotion for its talented youngsters into senior grades.
Speaking exclusively to Eels Digital today soon after being named in the Toyota Cup side by coach Steve Speechley, Folau said his selection was his career highlight to date.
"It's definitely a highlight for me, I'm looking forward to it" Folau said.
"Probably the speed of the game [will be the biggest difference] - it'll be a lot quicker and more physical."
Eels Toyota Cup coach Speechley said Sunday's clash against the Sharks would be a challenge for Folau, but that he had all the skills to excel at this level.
"Playing up in the 20's will test him physically, but we believe he's up to it," Speechley said.
"He's got great balance, he's very good on his feet.
"He's trained well with us all year and deserves his shot."
"Bringing John into the team is in line with what we've done with our other young guys - it's about preparing them for senior footy and getting them used to the step up in physicality."
The side's other 17-year-olds have proven its best performers in recent weeks, with Pauli Pauli, Frazer Masinamua and Kelepi Tanginoa all cementing themselves as mainstays of the side.