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Israel Folau on the verge of NRL return as Dragons submit application for two-year deal

Israel Folau on the verge of NRL return as Dragons submit application for two-year deal

St George Illawarra have submitted an application to the NRL in the hope of signing Israel Folau on a two-year deal.

The Herald can reveal the Dragons have formally approached the NRL about acquiring Folau's services from this season to play in the centres, with the governing body set to consider allowing the dual international to return to the sport.

Israel Folau in action for Catalans Dragons against Hull FC.

Israel Folau in action for Catalans Dragons against Hull FC.
CREDIT:
GETTY IMAGES

ARLC chairman Peter V'landys previously indicated the door was all but shut on Folau to return to the sport after the controversy surrounding his religious beliefs during his time in rugby union.

However the NRL has recently indicated to the Dragons that it will consider the application and will not make a decision until they have reviewed the proposal and spoken to the relevant parties.

“The NRL is one of the best sporting competitions in the world, we want to attract the best athletes in the world, and I’m not surprised there’s interest from athletes wanting to play in our competition,” chief executive Andrew Abdo said on Tuesday afternoon.

“At the moment there’s nothing before the NRL or the ARLC to consider. If there’s a formal application made, there’s a registration process and that due process will be followed and considered.”

Israel Folau arrives at the Federal Court in Melbourne in 2019.

Israel Folau arrives at the Federal Court in Melbourne in 2019.
CREDIT:
JUSTIN MCMANUS

The Dragons board has approved the approach, while the club has also informed its major sponsors of its intention to sign Folau. St George Illawarra chief executive Ryan Webb confirmed the club was in the process of luring the former Queensland and Australian representative to the Dragons.

“We are always on the lookout for great players,” Webb told the Herald. “We have enquired with the NRL about Israel and we will work with them to hopefully see him join us in 2021. We understand there will be a range of opinions in regards to this decision, but we believe he would be a good addition to our club.”

Folau was meant to play for Catalans in the Super League this year, but returned home over the summer after the birth of his first child. The news of the Dragons' potential signing of Folau comes on the day they lost skipper Cameron McInnes to the Sharks from next season on a four year deal worth around $2.2 million.

When V'landys was appointed as chair of the commission, he was asked about the prospect of allowing Folau back into the sport.

"The game is inclusive. Israel's comments are not inclusive," V'landys said at the time. "When I was a kid and kids used to get bashed up because they were different, I used to go and defend them. And a lot of them, it's because their role models or their peers made them that way.

Israel Folau settled his unfair dismissal case with Rugby Australia.

Israel Folau settled his unfair dismissal case with Rugby Australia.
CREDIT:
JANIE BARRETT

"I have no tolerance for people that put other people's lives [at risk] or [commit] violence. It's a big statement to make. With due respect to Israel, what he says, young kids listen to. He is a role model. They act on it. And when you're a kid at school and you get bashed up because you're different, I don't think that's a good thing."

Pressed on whether there was an appetite to have Folau back in the NRL, Abdo said: “Everyone will have an opinion on it ... we will very fair and transparent in that due process.”

Folau’s past social media indiscretions would be factored in, said Abdo, when assessing any application to return. Fans and sponsors would be considered, but “ultimately it’s the NRL’s decision.”

Israel Folau on the verge of NRL return as Dragons submit application for two-year deal Israel Folau on the verge of NRL return as Dragons submit application for two-year deal Reviewed by World Trends | تريندات العالم on فبراير 01, 2021 Rating: 5

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