allsportchat Instagram post:
allsportchat Instagram post: "Do you think this is a good signing, or could they have looked elsewhere. Catalans Dragons have signed Israel Folau on a 1 year deal. Folau last played professional rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos in 2010, he joins fellow former NRL star James Maloney in France!" Picture: Instagram SOURCE:

Inside the amazing resurrection of Israel Folau

Israel Folau's sporting career was dead, but within three days it rose again.

The 30-year-old's new contract with Catalans Dragons was finalised three days after it was offered, such was the former Wallaby's desire to resume playing.

And he has guaranteed those close to him that he will not make any controversial social media posts - as per his strict contract with the French Super League club - but rather do all his talking on the field to prove a point to his critics.


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The Daily Telegraph has learned that after desperately seeking a return to the NRL and getting short shrift, Folau abandoned his previous plan to remain in Sydney and focus on his church, to finally consider overseas offers.

Some foreign clubs expressed interest but there were several issues preventing deals being done.

Then late last week, Catalans came in with their offer - said to be around $400,000 - and Folau signed and sealed the contract within 72 hours.

He and wife Maria will relocate to Perpignan in southern France next week, and he's expected to be available to play in the second round on February 9 against Wakefield Trinity.

That match will have extra spice after Trinity's openly gay prop Keegan Hirst slammed Folau's signing, posting on Twitter: "I'm shocked and disappointed at the signing of @IzzyFolau. Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in. It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity @rfl expects from its players, staff and fans".

Openly gay Super League player Keegan Hirst has slammed the signing of Israel Folau.
Openly gay Super League player Keegan Hirst has slammed the signing of Israel Folau.

Folau had considered taking legal action against the NRL for blocking his return, but was mentally exhausted by his battle against Rugby Australia, who terminated his $5 million contract after his social media post last April warning gays they were destined to Hell plunged the game into crisis.

Following a drawn-out court process, the matter was settled confidentially late last year. It's understood RA paid out Folau $3.1 million, and also covered his $1.5 million in legal expenses.

Folau, who had maintained a strict individual training regime throughout his legal ordeal, set about attempting to reprise his career in the NRL, where he first made his mark as a sportsman fresh out of school.

But having twice burned RA with his controversial religious posts, Folau could not earn the trust of NRL officials, with clubs advised not to make offers to him.

Israel Folau has not played rugby league since leaving the Brisbane Broncos in 2010 to play AFL.
Israel Folau has not played rugby league since leaving the Brisbane Broncos in 2010 to play AFL.


The Super League was equally concerned about their image being tarnished by Folau being signed by clubs, and internally expressed concerns to all clubs.

However, Catalans - who have proven a lifeline for troubled stars including Willie Mason, Todd Carner, Chris Walker and Dave Taylor - moved forward with the signing only after Folau agreed to unprecedented terms around his social media posts.

"I acknowledge the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League," Folau said.

"I'm a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them."

That is at complete odds with the stance Folau took during his legal battle with RA, when he said time and again he would not compromise his beliefs or back down from sharing them.

Yet seeing his sporting career coming to a premature end, Folau had a change of heart.

He believes he can shine on the pitch this season, and having vowed not to cause any controversy, believes he can even regain the interest of the NRL once his 12-month stint with Catalans expires.