Maria Folau quits Australian netball after tumultuous year

New Zealand sharpshooter Maria Folau won't play in the looming Super Netball season after rejecting offers to return to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Folau, the wife of axed Wallabies star Israel Folau, won the Thunderbirds' best-and-fairest award for 2019 but won't return to the Adelaide club or any Super Netball rival.

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The 32-year-old Folau's season in Adelaide was marred by the furore surrounding her husband's religious social media posts.

Israel Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated after his posts. He is now embroiled in an unfair dismissal case against rugby's governing body.

Maria Folau won't be returning to Australian netball. Image: Instagram/Getty

Maria Folau was drawn into the controversy in June when, on her social media accounts, she shared Israel's crowd-funding campaign for his legal fight. The campaign was later shutdown.

Australian netball hierarchy investigated Maria's actions but ruled she didn't breach any of the competition's rules.

Adelaide were keen to re-sign Folau but the Kiwi veteran rejected overtures to return.

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Maria Folau in action for New Zealand against Australia. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

South African star replaces Folau

The Thunderbirds have signed South Africa's first-choice goalshooter Lenize Potgieter as a replacement.

"(Potgieter) is athlete who has excelled on the international stage and will be looking to stamp her mark on the competition," Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst said in a statement on Tuesday.

The contracting period for all Super Netball clubs ended on Monday.