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Broncs call for calm after Folau defection

Brisbane Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen says Israel Folau's defection to the AFL is no cause for the NRL https://www.goldengooseshoesit.com/ to panic.

If Cullen's information is correct then Folau has become the highest paid Australian-based player across all four football codes.

Folau has yet to kick an Australian rules goal, but - according to Cullen - the AFL has agreed to shell out a staggering $6 million to secure his services for the Greater Western Sydney franchise.

"We're talking $6 million over four years," Cullen said. "That's what I've heard. We (rugby league) can't match that.

"Everyone has to understand the money is not in our game to match these types of offers."

The high-profile Broncos have seen a stream of stars depart to other codes since 2001 with Brad Thorn, Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Berrick Barnes going to rugby union before the AFL moved in for Karmichael Hunt and now Folau.

But a philosophical Cullen dismisses fears that the NRL is under threat of more AFL poaching.

"It's a very unique situation," he said.

"You've got two very high-profile rugby league players being asked to be public relations figures, to be the face of two new AFL franchises that are moving into traditional rugby league heartlands.

"I think it's a very smart move by the AFL and those clubs to lift their profile.

"It's somewhat amusing that a code like the AFL, who want to spout about being the most popular and largest footy code in the country, needs two rugby league players to introduce two new franchises.

"In saying that, I can understand what they are doing because we are talking about rugby league territory and a public relations exercise more than getting two good AFL players at this point in time."

Cullen admits the Broncos are sorry to lose Folau and will "definitely" take him back if his code switch does not work out.

"He's a great young kid with all his football still in front of him. We were hoping that was going to be with us for the next 10 years or so," he said.

"We lost Brent Tate to the Warriors (NRL club), it's not that much different.

"You Golden Goose lose high-profile players to other clubs, to rugby union, overseas (English league) and now to AFL.

"The disappointment is losing a quality person not that they are jumping to another code."

- AAP
06-10-2019 05:07 AM
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