No thanks: NRL shuts door on Folau return
Any hopes of a rugby league homecoming for fallen Wallaby Israel Folau have been dashed after ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie sensationally banned him from the NRL on Thursday night.
Rugby Australia on Thursday night signalled its intent to terminate the outspoken star's $4 million contract, having failed to establish contact with him since his homophobic social media posts on Wednesday night.
While up to nine NRL clubs may have the financial means to sign Folau, the governing body has ruled out allowing them to take a risk on the controversial star ending any hopes the former Kangaroo could seek refuge in the code which gave him his start.
Beattie said Rugby Australia had taken the right approach in its intent to sack Folau.
"Israel Folau fails the NRL's inclusiveness culture which is a policy strongly supported by the Australian Rugby League Commission," Beattie told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday night.
"As a game, we have a clear position to be inclusive.
"From our point of view rugby union has made a decision that clearly rugby league would support.
"The ARLC therefore would not support his registration to play in the NRL."
A host of clubs, headed by North Queensland, would have been lining up to sign the 30-year-old, who in an open market could have secured a $1 million deal.
But Beattie left little doubt that Folau's contract would not be registered, leaving the once great sporting prodigy in limbo.
Beattie and his fellow commissioners acted swiftly to distance Folau from the code before he was naturally linked with a return to the NRL.
The decision by Beattie will stop the rumour mill which would have been in full swing as soon as Folau's termination is made official.
The decision means Folau's sporting future rests overseas. But the English Super League is unlikely to be a place of solace because it generally adheres to any bans handed down by the NRL.
The Cowboys may have been a perfect fit for Folau after they missed out on NFL-bound Valentine Holmes. Canterbury, Wests Tigers, the Warriors and Parramatta are other clubs who may have wanted Folau. The Eels launched an audacious bid to sign Folau five years ago.
They are all moot points now that Beattie has knocked Folau's possible return to the NRL on the head.
Folau carved out a successful career in rugby league after making his debut as a teenage star in Melbourne in 2007. He spent two years at the Storm before being a high-profile recruit at the Broncos in 2009.
Folau lasted just one more season at Brisbane before making the switch to AFL.
He played five games for Queensland and eight for Australia.