Folau makes call on his playing future
Former Wallaby Israel Folau signed a one-year contract extension with French Super League club Catalans Dragons on Friday.
The cross-code superstar made his return to rugby league in February with the Dragons after ten years away from the sport.
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Folau played four NRL seasons between 2007 and 2010, earning a premiership title with the Melbourne Storm, which was later stripped due to the salary cap saga. He still holds the record for most tries in a debut NRL season, with 21.
After a two-year stint with the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the AFL, Folau played seven Super Rugby seasons with the New South Wales Waratahs, where he became the side's all-time highest try scorer.
Rugby Australia sacked Folau after he posted a homophobic social media post in May 2019, which claimed "hell awaits" homosexuals.
After his lengthy spat with Rugby Australia, which ended with a confidential settlement, the 31-year-old signed with the Dragons in January 2020. ARL Commission boss Peter Beattie denied Folau the chance to return to the NRL, claiming: "We are an inclusive game and we want to make certain that everybody feels part of rugby league. That is why Israel's comments are not part of that inclusiveness."
Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell warned Catalans legal action would be taken should the club suffer any financial loss - from sponsors to potential investors, gate takings and reputational damage - as a direct result of Folau's controversial signing.
In his maiden game for the Perpignan-based club, Folau crossed for a try after just six minutes having caught a cross field bomb
After playing three fixtures before the coronavirus lockdown, Folau has signed a one-year extension with the French club, and will feature in the 2021 French Super League season.
"Me and my family are very excited to stay on at the club for season 2021. We're very grateful for the opportunity that (president) Bernard Guasch and the Dragons have given me," Folau told the club's website.
"I'm looking forward to working hard and achieving great success on the field with my teammates and this great club," he added.
The back-three player turned down an offer to return to rugby union, rejecting a deal from Top 14 side Montpellier in May.
"His decision to stay at the club for one more season honours him," Guasch said.
"Once the media storm that followed his signing passed, and after only three Super League appearances, he received many requests and became a highly demanded player.
"He has shown he is a respectful player since he arrived at the club. He will be 32 years old at the end of his new contract and we will then think about the rest of his career."
Dragons coach Steve McNamara was "delighted" by the news.
"The most impressive asset he showed in the short period before the confinement was his willingness to work hard for the team," McNamara said.
"On top of that he is clearly a great athlete with a tremendous skill set. We look forward to seeing him continually improve and have an even greater influence over the team's performances through 2020 and 2021."
Folau scored 37 tries in 73 rugby union Tests before he was dumped. The fullback was awarded a record three John Eales Medals for Australia's best rugby player.
The 2020 Super League season is set to resume on August 2nd after the campaign was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- With AFP
Originally published as Folau makes call on playing future