At least one NRL club will make inquiries with Israel Folau about a NRL return this season as teams prepare to raid dormant competitions for stars such as Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and All Blacks star Ardie Savea, writes Sydney Morning Herald.
Sources close to Cooper have told the publication that, if given the blessing of his Japanese rugby club, Kintetsu Liners, he would be willing to discuss a short-term deal with an NRL club for the rest of the season before returning to Japan for a new competition in January.
With the NRL eyeing a May 28 return - potentially with a shortened 13-week competition – at least one club is preparing an approach to the Folau camp in the coming days to gauge his appetite in signing before the June 30 deadline.
Folau, Williams, Savea and Cooper are the obvious quartet – but other league and union targets mentioned to Sydney Morning Herald include Kurtley Beale, Ben Te’o, Will Chambers, Karmichael Hunt, Jordan Rapana, James Maloney, Jackson Hastings and Blake Austin.
While most would be welcomed into the NRL with open arms, any attempt to sign Folau would be met by resistance from head office, which remains intent on excluding Folau from its ‘‘inclusive sport’’.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys was careful when he was last year asked about Folau’s future in the sport. It was clear he didn’t agree with Folau’s actions.
‘‘The comments of Israel are not inclusive,’’ V’landys said. ‘‘Israel has to understand he is a role model ... he has a duty. When I was at school and kids used to get bashed up because they were different, I used to go and defend them. I have no tolerance for people who put other people’s lives into violence or whatever.’’
Full story via Sydney Morning Herald.