'Too much baggage': Why NRL great would never sign Israel Folau

Andrew Reid

Rugby League legend Laurie Daley has questioned why any NRL club would want the "baggage" that comes with Israel Folau's signing.

Folau's future has been the subject of intense debate ever since his controversial axing from Rugby Australia.

The deeply religious star has been linked to a host of NRL clubs after he reached an out-of-court settlement with Rugby Australia earlier this week over his wrongful termination claim.

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One of those clubs was the Brisbane Broncos, who last week emphatically shut the door on a return for the player via an online statement from the club.

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The NRL is yet to confirm whether it would sanction Folau's return to the code where he shot to fame.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that multiple clubs would be interested in signing Folau but are keeping their cards close their chests until the NRL's stance is clear.

However, former NSW Origin coach and player Daley can't understand why anyone would risk destabilising their club by signing the divisive star.

“I’m not paying him anything. I don’t bring him to my club,” Daley told the Big Sports Breakfast.

“Too much baggage. You divide your club, you divide your sponsors, you divide your members and you probably would even … have some players that would have some concerns with him coming in and fitting in to your culture.

Pictured here, Israel Folau finally reached a settlement with Rugby Australia.
Israel Folau has been linked with a host of NRL clubs after his Rugby Australia axing. Pic: Getty

“I reckon if you’ve got a strong playing group and a strong leadership group, they would have massive concerns.

“Why would you want to bring all this disruption to your club when you don’t need it?

“I couldn’t do it. Why would I want to bring that to my club for two years?”

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has previously publicly insisted that a return to the NRL for devout Christian Folau would be difficult given his controversial stance on homosexuality is incompatible with the game's ethos.

Reports of Folau's possible return to rugby league has led to plenty of criticism.

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Folau played for Melbourne and the Broncos in his four-season NRL career between 2007 and 2010 before switching codes to join expansion club GWS in the AFL.

He played 13 AFL matches for the Giants before joining rugby union in 2013 and going on to make 62 Test appearances for the Wallabies.

With agencies