Rugby league boss Peter V’landys made it clear recently there is no place for Israel Folau in the NRL. But the sacked Wallabies star is determined to play.
Rugby league boss Peter V’landys made it clear recently there is no place for Israel Folau in the NRL. But the sacked Wallabies star is determined to play.

Folau plots NRL comeback plan

Israel Folau has been training up to three hours a day in a bid to reignite his football career in the NRL.

The sacked Wallaby is determined to resume his professional sporting career and now sees a return to rugby league as his preferred option because he doesn't want to move overseas.

A source close to Folau revealed to The Sunday Telegraph that the 30-year-old has maintained a strict training program since he was stood down from playing duties at NSW Waratahs after his infamous Instagram post last April saying gays are destined for Hell.

Folau hasn’t given up on an NRL return. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Folau hasn’t given up on an NRL return. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

 

Some had speculated after Folau earned a multimillion-dollar payout - believed to be between $3-to-$4 million - and an apology from Rugby Australia last Wednesday that the devout Christian would take a full-time role in his church.

However, Folau believes he has three years of football left in him and is in prime shape for any fitness test interested NRL clubs may put him through.

A crucial factor in a mooted return to league, previously revealed by The Sunday Telegraph, is that Folau would offer the NRL the opportunity to vet his future social media posts if that's what it takes to secure a contract.

He'd offered the same pledge to RA during the code of conduct hearing that led to the eventual termination of his $5 million contract, however he had walked back on that pledge. By the end, he could offer no guarantees he wouldn't make similar religious posts targeting homosexuals in future.

 

 

 

 

 

That left RA with no choice but to push forward with a request his Folau's contract axing.

But with options now drying up - Folau had hoped to be reinstated by RA and return to Super Rugby but that will not be allowed to happen - and his reticence to move overseas despite an offer, Folau is keen to strike a deal in the NRL.

However, it will take a dramatic change of heart from new ARLC chairman Peter V'landys to approve Folau's registration.

When asked about Folau's views last month, V'landys said: "The game is inclusive. Israel's comments are not inclusive.

"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 [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."

 

 

ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys has been clear about his views. Photo: AAP Image/Bianca De March
ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys has been clear about his views. Photo: AAP Image/Bianca De March

 

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There are NRL clubs interested in speaking to Folau, knowing they can secure him for a cut-price deal next season, however they're likely to face resistance from the game's powerbrokers.

Given the settlement with RA, and potential restraint-of-trade arguments to be explored, Folau's camp believes he may have legal grounds to fight for an NRL contract.

The NRL would not comment on the matter on Saturday.


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