ISRAEL Folau will be a star in the AFL.
Former Caloundra product and Western Bulldogs player Sam Reid says critics of the decision by the competition's newest franchise, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, to lure the former NRL super talent to the club on a deal reported to be worth $1 million a season may be forced to eat their words.
Reid has spent the pre-season with GWS after being cut by the Dogs.
He said while signing Folau was clearly a marketing coup, his rate of progression had been outstanding.
"Israel is just such a natural athlete. He's got really good ball-handling skills, which we've all seen in the NRL," Reid said.
"He's also super quick. His kicking needed some work, but that's improving and once he learns the game he'll be a star."
Giants coach Kevin Sheedy has already pencilled Folau in for the season opener against the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium on March 24.
Before that - on February 18, when GWS opens its NAB Cup campaign against both the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood at Blacktown, in Sydney's west - he will no doubt have the opportunity to show how much progress he has made since switching codes 12 months ago.
While all eyes may be on Folau in those games, no one will be looking forward to the clash against the Doggies more than Reid.
The 22-year-old spent the past four years at the Western Bulldogs, seemingly constant injuries limiting him to just 10 games. He had groin surgery in 2009 and needed reconstructions on both shoulders in 2010.
Reid says, however, his body it is better shape than it has been for the past three seasons.
"The shoulders are fine and the groin is good," he said. "I've been able to do a lot more training than the previous three years and I'm definitely fitter than I've ever been at this time of the year."
Reid is sharing an apartment with fellow former Western Bulldog star Callan Ward at Breakfast Point on the Paramatta River.
The club has located all of the players in the same apartment complex in a US college-style set-up.
Reid said the club had left no stone unturned in its quest to be successful, including setting up what he described as "the best gym I've ever seen".
He also said Sheedy and assistant coach Mark Williams, who took Port Adelaide to a premiership in 2004, were the perfect mentors for the group of talented youngsters the Giants had drafted.
"Choco (Williams) has been taking most of the training, but they bounce off each other really well," Reid said.
"And Kevin's got so much knowledge, and he's very approachable."