3 May 2010

Footy not politics behind Folau omission: Sheens

4:07 pm on 3 May 2010

Australia's rugby league coach Tim Sheens is adamant politics has little to do with it but the representative career of the youngest-ever Kangaroo appears over after Israel Folau was left out of the national side for Friday night's Test against New Zealand.

Folau's future in rugby league is uncertain amid reports he is considering massive offers from both rugby and Australian Rules.

He's been overlooked, with the selectors opting for the Manly veteran Jamie Lyon to partner Greg Inglis in the centres.

Sheens denies Folau's possible move to a rival code has anything to do with the snubbing, saying Lyon is a specialist right-side player and centre and a goalkicker, which is going to be an issue without the injured Jonathan Thurston.

Melbourne's Cooper Cronk will play halfback in Thurston's place, the Storm star's club combination with fullback Billy Slater and hooker Cameron Smith helping earn him the nod.

Meanwhile Manly beat South Sydney 30-22 in the last game of the round, after leading 30-6 early in the second half.