YOUNG rugby league captain-coach Brent Crisp yesterday delivered a sporting bombshell, declaring he had been approached by the Fremantle Dockers to change codes this year.

Crisp’s shock revelation came as the Riverina football community grappled with Queensland superstar Israel Folau’s jump from the NRL to the AFL.

League and Australian football players from across the region have strong opinions on the Folau situation -with a handful of popular identities delivering their verdict on his switch yesterday.

For the first time Crisp yesterday revealed he was close to pursuing an Australian football career and making a dramatic code switch -but without the $3 million incentive.

Crisp has a similar build to Folau and sharing a common link through their preferred position on the rugby league field, the Cherrypickers star admitted he can appreciate the challenge Folau will face.

“We all know how great he is in the air so taking a mark will be natural for him, and obviously he is a natural athlete, but I think the challenge will be in the amount of running he will now have to do,” he said.

“I grew up playing AFL and I was actually talking with Fremantle about possibly going down and playing before I signed with Young and I know that being that big and heavy he will find the endurance hard.

“No one really knows how well he can kick, obviously his ball handling is fine, but it might only be a matter of time before they are working to strip weight off him.”

Farrer League club CSU coach Steven Schultz yesterday disputed claims Folau’s natural athletic ability would be enough for coaches to carve a professional AFL player.

“Athletically I think he will be fine but you have to have 360 vision in AFL, with players coming straight at him from all angles, and I think that will be a problem for him,” he said.

“I really don’t think he will cope, I hope he does, but I don’t think he will.”

Southcity rugby league captain-coach Greg Lynch yesterday labelled the whole situation “one big publicity stunt”.

“You can’t blame the bloke for leaving the game for a million dollars a year, but at the end of the day it is one big publicity stunt,” he said.

“He is the person that has to get up Monday morning sore, and the reality is that he may have had a career of 10 years or less and now he is going to make maybe three years wage in just a season in AFL.

“It’s hard to say what the situation will be with Folau, he is only 21 or 22 so he could spend his three years in the AFL, earn his three million and still come back to league and dominate.

“But I know if I was a marquee player in the AFL and suddenly Folau came in and got millions I would be pretty angry.”

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