- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Fans have reacted with scepticism after it was revealed Israel Folau could be considering a shock move into politics.
According to multiple reports, the controversial cross-code footballer is believed to be weighing up an invitation to join Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.
'ON ANOTHER PLANET': Former Wallabies clash over 'poor' Aussies
Folau is said to be weighing up a tilt for the Senate in Queensland under the banner of the billionaire mining magnate's party.
The United Australia Party have refused to confirm or deny whether Folau had nominated himself.
The party closed its nomination forms on Monday and candidates are expected to be officially unveiled next week.
Either way, social media users were stunned to learn about Folau's potential career change.
Former Wallabies player and journalist Peter FitzSimons was among the many to express their disbelief, tweeting "Lord, spare us".
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) November 15, 2021
— Dave Strachan (@Dastra) November 15, 2021
Go away already!!!!!
— Michelle (@michelleweb67) November 16, 2021
Apparently Israel Folau is considering running for Senate in Queensland with the help of, surprise, buffoon Clive Palmer
It’s never been about freedom of speech, it’s always been about Israel Folau
— Callum #WhatFreedom (@Bombers83) November 16, 2021
Footy star Israel Folau is 'making big switch to POLITICS', ffs enough idiots in politics now, we don’t need another one. https://t.co/4u7yGUVBd3
— 𝔸𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕟𝕪 ✊ (@Leftie_Human) November 16, 2021
— david mccarthy (@DavidDmacca) November 16, 2021
Israel Folau and Clive Palmer's unlikely partnership
Folau and Palmer formed an unlikely partnership this year when the billionaire backed Folau's bid to return to rugby league in Queensland.
The former Wallaby returned to league via a local team on the Gold Coast in a move was bankrolled by Palmer.
Folau's former team Catalans Dragons had blocked his attempts to try and play with the Southport Tigers after claiming that he reneged on the final year of his contract to return to Australia on compassionate grounds.
But Folau's legal team argued the French-based club repudiated its contract by failing to make payments to him after December 2020.
The QRL had previously indicated it would consider Folau's application to be registered "in line with its rules and processes", but Palmer threatened legal action if it didn't happen imminently.
"Israel doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with a criminal offence" Palmer said in a statement at the time.
"He loves his wife and his son. He has a rugby playing record second to none.
"If he is not registered by Wednesday, I believe he will issue an injunction in the Federal Court of Australia against the QRL for their discrimination against him on religious grounds."
However the saga was eventually resolved and Folau was allowed to play for Southport.
The 32-year-old last played rugby league in Australia in 2010 before pursuing a short-lived AFL career with expansion club GWS and then a rugby union career which included 73 Test appearances for Australia.
He returned to professional rugby league after reaching a legal settlement with Rugby Australia, who sacked him over controversial religious posts on social media that said "hell awaits" homosexuals.
Following his sacking and eventual payout from RA, Folau joined Super League club Catalans in January 2020.
The exiled Wallabies fullback is now set to return to rugby union in 2022 after signing for the Shining Arcs side in Japan's Top League.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.