‘Absolute rubbish’: Uproar at Folau report
Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara has delivered a strongly-worded response to reports Israel Folau is targeting a return to the NRL this year.
The St George Illawarra Dragons reportedly made a major move to recruit Folau back into the NRL, wanting to see him play rugby league again while wearing the Red V.
On Tuesday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that St George had submitted a formal application to the NRL to sign Folau on a two-year deal.
The Dragons board has reportedly given the green light to go ahead with plans to recruit Folau, who would likely play in the centres if a contract was ratified.
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McNamara firmly ridiculed the reports on Tuesday AEDT, claiming Folau has been in frequent contact with the Dragons while attending to a "personal family situation" in Australia.
"I don't normally react to things, but this is absolute rubbish," McNamara said, as reported by Wide World of Sports.
"People have suggested that he's simply not returned to France and made no contact with the club and it's the complete opposite. He's got a serious family situation back home in Australia and from day one of that situation arising, he has been in contact with us.
"That's where we are currently at and there has been no change in the situation. It's a personal thing and we are giving him whatever time he needs."
Folau played his maiden season for Catalans in 2020, signing a one-year extension with the Super League franchise in July last year.
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Although the news of Folau's return was greeted with a flood of criticism, NRL great Willie Mason argued the 31-year-old had served his time.
"I'm glad he's allowed back, or they're trying to get him, he got ostracised and kicked out of our game and union for quoting a fictional book," Mason said, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.
"Get over it. I think he's done his time."
Folau debuted for the Melbourne Storm as a teenager in 2007 before moving north to play two seasons with the Brisbane 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 fulfilled its duty as a publicity stunt for the competition's newest franchise and in 2013 Folau jumped across to rugby union, signing with the NSW Waratahs and going on to play a key role in two World Cups for the Wallabies.
But his contract with Rugby Australia was torn up for repeatedly making homophobic comments on social media, as he said "hell awaits" gay people unless they repent for their "sins".
Folau sought $14 million in compensation as he launched legal action against RA for wrongful termination and a bitter, drawn-out saga between both parties came to a head in December 2019 when they agreed on a confidential financial settlement.
Originally published as 'Absolute rubbish': Uproar at Folau report