THE sign has already been stolen three times, but that did not stop former Goodna rugby league player Israel Folau grinning from ear-to-ear as he unveiled a street named in his honour.
Folau, 21, made the headlines earlier this year when he defected from the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos to AFL but he returned to his home town to humbly watch the naming.
“It’s pretty cool... I feel very special,” Folau said.
“It would be nice to own a home on this street.”
When asked what it felt like to be a role model for so many young people, Folau said he hoped the street sign would encourage Goodna kids to aspire to greatness.
“They can achieve whatever they want if they put their mind to it,” he said.
“They’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to make a lot of sacrifices along the way but in the end it’s all worth it.”
Folau said Ipswich had always been very supportive and he would miss Queensland when he moved south to play for Greater Western Sydney.
Folau played for Goodna Rugby League club as a teenager and is the second rugby league international to come from Goodna since the 1950s, after Noel Kelly.
Rugby league international Noel Kelly played for Australian in 1959 and had a street named after him in 2003.
“Noel had to wait 40 years to be honoured but Israel gets his after only three,” Goodna Councillor Paul Tully said.
Cr Tully said the street would serve as a reminder to all the children in the Goodna area of what they could achieve with efforts and determination.
Ironbark residents Darren and Amanda Amos travelled to Israel Folau Street with daughter Lily so their eight-year-old son Ethan, a passionate footy fan, could get his jersey signed.
Mr Amos said Ethan loved watching the league and wanted to ask Folau if he thought he would be better suited to AFL or NRL because he still had a bit of growing to do.
“He’s only eight,” Mr Amos said.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said people were obviously keen to celebrate Folau’s connection to Goodna but if anyone wanted to get a copy of the street sign they could buy it from Council.
“You don’t have to steal the sign,” Cr Pisasale said.
When asked about the thefts, Folau cheekily replied: “I’m not sure; I might be one of them.”