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Folau opens up on depression, alcohol and women in tell all interview

Sporting News logo Sporting News 17/12/2016
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Wallabies superstar, Israel Folau, has revealed in a tell all interview, his battle with depression that saw him spiral into a dangerous cycle of alcohol and women during his early NRL days.

The 27-year-old revealed that following his early success in the professional sporting arena, he felt “untouchable” and “invincible”, which led to his overuse of drinks and women.

Folau made his NRL debut at just 17 years of age, and was soon a premiership player, as well as a Queensland and Australian representative.

“I was taught some very good life lessons and morals as a young kid growing up,” Folau told New Zealand’s 1News.

“As soon as I achieved all those things, it kind of went out the window. I got caught up in all the party things and I guess I’d say my head was above the clouds.”

When Folau moved to Queensland in 2009, he said the problems got even worse as he fell into the dangerous drinking culture at the Broncos at that time.

“It got really bad,” Folau said. “Most people don’t realise there’s certain things that players go through off the field.

“Most times, guys are good at hiding things. I just got caught up in the alcohol, women and all that sort of stuff.”

Folau said the pressure of moving to a new code, when he took up an offer from the GWS Giants in the AFL, sent him to rock bottom.

The dual international is currently touring New Zealand with Warriors flyer Manu Vatuvei, raising awareness of mental health issues, and is engaged to Kiwi netball star Maria Tutaia.

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