Promising Folau a work in progress for Eels
A barnstorming two-try effort from Eels winger John Folau has his teammates excited about his potential but his coach has cautioned the 20-year-old is still a work in progress.
In just his second NRL game, filling in for injured try-scoring ace Semi Radradra, Folau earned two tries – neither of them easy – while running almost 100 metres and breaking six tackles.
But the younger brother of dual international Israel Folau was also found out of position a couple of times, and came up with three errors.
"He's a big strong thing and we knew if we got him some ball and put him in the centres there attacking the tryline... he barged over but he's still learning the game," Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
"A couple of times there in defence with some of his decision making he got isolated a little bit. Even right at the death when we were attacking the tryline if he got his timing right he probably could have scored a third try.
"He's going to be good for us moving forward but he's still got a lot of things to work on."
If anything it's the 193 centimetre, 112-kilogram frame that has most caught the eye of teammates, although the fact he showed elusive footwork that belied his size is a dangerous sign.
"He's a big boy, big strong boy, he's young and enthusiastic and he's athletic," Eels forward David Gower told NRL.com.
"He's a big athletic kid. We just said 'back yourself, back your own ability and you can play well' and he did tonight.
"We need more from him, we need him to continue to develop and we need more of that from him going forward."
Fronting a throng of journalists, including television cameras, after a game for the first time in his career, Folau had every right to be as nervous as he was making his debut, but the softly spoken giant handled it with aplomb.
"I feel good. Just happy to get the opportunity to play," Folau said.
"I couldn't really see in front of me, I just dived for the line and somehow came up with the try," he said of his first four-pointer that came from stepping past the great Greg Inglis.
He added his teammates had helped with the step up to first grade.
"They have [supported me] – making the transition from NSW Cup up the boys made it a lot easier for me," he added.
He also revealed his high profile older brother had given him some key words of advice to help him prepare for first grade: "just have fun!"