Israel Folau wants to know whether he can return to the NRL, and has taken a major step in finding out after his last brutal snub.
Israel Folau wants to know whether he can return to the NRL, and has taken a major step in finding out after his last brutal snub.

Folau takes matters into his own hands

Israel Folau wants to sit down with NRL bosses and ask them face-to-face whether he has a future in the code.

It emerged earlier this month the Dragons were chasing the cross-code superstar, but pulled out of their hunt because of the fierce backlash that erupted when news of their pursuit was made public.

Folau hasn't played in the NRL since he left the Broncos in 2010. He played AFL then moved to rugby union, before Rugby Australia ripped up his contract for making homophobic comments on social media.

Unable to play the 15-man code Down Under, he headed overseas and reignited his rugby league career with Catalans Dragons, who play in the UK Super League.

Even though St George's bid failed, Folau is still keen to return to the code where he announced himself to Australia as a teenage superstar more than a decade ago.

Channel 7 reported on Tuesday night the 31-year-old wants to meet with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to discuss "whether he has a future in the code".

"Folau's representatives wrote to ARLC chairman Peter V'landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo last week to request a sit-down," Seven reporter Michelle Bishop said.

The NRL hasn't put a blanket ban on Folau returning but there have been suggestions he would be more trouble than he's worth should he make a comeback. This week V'landys said the league would assess any application by a club to recruit the controversial footy player "on its due merits".

"Like any other person in the community he deserves due process and natural justice and he will get that," V'landys told Andrew Voss on SEN.

RELATED: Folau backflips on social media stance

Folau debuted for the Melbourne Storm as a teenager in 2007 before moving north to play two seasons with the Broncos between 2009-2010. The explosive back played five Origins for Queensland and eight Tests for Australia before dropping a bombshell and quitting to play AFL.

A short stint at GWS was followed by a 73-Test run with the Wallabies before his acrimonious break-up with the 15-man code Down Under.

He signed a one-year extension last July to keep him at Catalans for the 2021 season but with COVID-19 causing havoc around the world, Folau returned to Australia during the summer and is keen to stay.

V'landys has said previously Folau's views on homosexuality are not welcome in the NRL. In October 2019, the NRL boss poured cold water over the idea of Folau ever returning.

"The game is inclusive. Israel's comments are not inclusive," V'landys said then.

"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.

"I have no tolerance for people that put other people's lives (at risk) or (who 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."

Originally published as Folau takes matters into his own hands


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