Israel Folau could return to the NRL where he was one of the most dominate players in the game.
Folau, 27, played just four years in the NRL, two with Melbourne Storm and two with Brisbane Broncos, but quickly became one of the most dominant and dangerous players in the game.
When Folau’s contract with the Broncos expired at the end of the 2010 season, Folau was linked to the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union team in Super Rugby and was also sought after by AFL’s new franchise the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
After a three-way bidding war between rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules football, Folau signed a deal with the the AFL’s new franchise, Greater Western Sydney, estimated to be worth up to $6 million over four years.
Folau made his AFL debut for GWS Giants in their first match in the competition, against the Sydney Swans in Round 1, 2012. After just 2-years into his 4-year contract, Folau did not enjoy the game and gave up on his AFL career at the end of the 2012 season. Although his AFL career on-field was described as a failure, Folau helped establish establish the Giants in Western Sydney.
At the end of the 2012 season with the Giants, Folau announced his retirement from the AFL and that he would join rugby union side the NSW Waratahs for the 2013 season., where he has not looked back, playing 60 games for the Waratahs and has made 51 appearances for the Wallabies and has scored 20 tries.
Now, Folau, who is newly engaged to 29-year old New Zealand netball star Maria Tutaia, the world travel that is required by his Rugy union commitments could no longer viable as he wishes to spend more time closer to his new fiance.
“The engagement has totally put a lot of things in the air,” Tutaia said.
“We’ve spoken about it just briefly, who’s going to leave and who’s not”.
“It’s one of the many big conversations or things Izzy and I have to sort out, but we’ve got a lot going on at the moment so there’s lots to decide in the next few months.”
If Folau does decide to return to Rugby League, there would not be any shortage of clubs that would be chasing his prized signature.
New Zealand Warriors would head the race as his fiance Maria Tutaia is the current captain of the Silver Ferns and New Zealand’s new eligibility ruling which blocks its players from signing with teams in the new Australian domestic league.
Kiwi stalwart Laura Langman is now ineligible to play for New Zealand after signing with the new Sunshine Coast Lightning team.
Tutaia said she and other teammates had planned to come to Australia to play in the new competition but the NNZ ruling changed their minds.
Could the Warriors fit Folau under their current salary cap though with the recent signings of Kieran Foran, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Issac Luke and their st halfback Shaun Johnson.
Des Hasler has been trying to get lure Folau back to the game for years now and could be a signing that could save his career.
It is also understood that Folau has a soft spot for the Brisbane Broncos and also has a desire to play State of Origin football again.
Folau’s current contract with the Waratahs and with Australian Rugby union runs through to the end of the 2018 season. What could the next 12 months hold for one of Rugby league’s greatest players, but Folau is expected to be one of the NRL’s sort after players and would be a massive coup for the NRL!