More details have surfaced around the reported deal the Dragons have proposed to Israel Folau, including a report that the controversial star has agreed to conditions limiting his public expression of religious beliefs.
St George Illawara stunned NRL fans yesterday with confirmation they are attempting to sign the cross-code star to a two-year contract.
However, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today part of the deal involves Folau needing to cooperate with the Dragons about his social media activity.
The condition stems from Folau’s well-publicised exit from Rugby Australia in 2019 when he had his contract ripped up for a social media post in which he said homosexuals, among other groups, were headed to “hell” unless they repented for their sins.
The newspaper reports Folau has told the Dragons he will agree to the terms, though, saying he has learned a lesson from the saga and is willing to keep his views and beliefs to himself.
It’s understood the arrangement would be similar to the one Folau’s current club, the Catalans Dragons, have with the former Wallaby.
Despite Folau’s willingness, though, his return to the NRL isn’t a certainty. ARLC chairman Peter V’Landys stated in 2019 the door was all but shut for him to return to rugby league in Australia.
"The game is inclusive. Israel's comments are not inclusive," V'landys said at the time.
"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."
Prior to his switch to rugby union, Folau earned 91 NRL appearances with the Storm and Broncos between 2007 and 2010.