Israel Folau
Israel Folau

Israel Folau is adamant his two-year flirtation with AFL wasn't a waste of time despite quitting the sport he says he had no passion for.

Folau looks set for a return to rugby league after confirming on Thursday he was walking out on Greater Western Sydney halfway through his lucrative four-year deal.

Recruited to the club to be the face of the game in Sydney's west, the 23-year-old admitted he struggled at times to deal with the intense spotlight that shadowed him since he switched codes.

Despite coming in for constant criticism for a return of just two goals from 13 games for the Giants, Folau insists he enjoyed his AFL experience and he has no regrets about his time in the code.

"It definitely wasn't a mistake because the last two years I've really enjoyed, learned a lot about the game and myself as well," Folau said.

"I wouldn't change the experience for anything.

"I've learned a lot of things about myself and skills I never had I've picked up in the last two years.

"It definitely wasn't a waste of time. I gave it my best shot the last two years but the passion wasn't there for me."

Folau conceded he had been wrestling with the decision for 'over a month' but said he owed it to the club to move on.

"I would have been cheating myself but it also wouldn't be fair to the club," he said.

"We've got a lot of great young players coming through and I think there's a bright future for them.

"But I had to be honest with the club and be upfront with them otherwise it wouldn't be fair for them to move forward."

Early indications are Folau is set to return to the NRL, with last season's wooden-spooners Parramatta favoured to secure his signature.

The former Melbourne and Brisbane winger's brother John plays for the Eels and Folau has often expressed his desire to link up with his younger sibling.

Folau dismissed suggestions he had already done a deal with Parramatta and hinted a switch to rugby union could also be on the cards.

"It's an option. I played rugby union when I younger as well," he said.

"I've got the passion to play (rugby) as well ... I'm leaving all options open.

"But at this stage I've had no discussions with any clubs at all ... my future at the moment is uncertain."


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