With Israel Folau’s rugby career in tatters, wife Maria has hinted that her netball career is coming to an end as well.
Maria is almost certain to be named in the Silver Ferns’ squad for the upcoming World Cup on Thursday, but it might be the last time she pulls on the black dress.
The 32-year-old recently revealed that she’s nearing the end of her career, suggesting the World Cup could be her swansong.
“Let’s just say I’m very close to the end,” she said in an interview with Aussie great Catherine Cox on Channel Nine.
“It’s only been in the last couple of years where I’ve realised netball isn’t everything.
“Netball is a huge part of my life, but there’s other things in my life that have come into place that really need to take forward stead.”
Maria moved from New Zealand to play with the Adelaide Thunderbirds at the start of this season in order to be closer to Israel.
“It was hard because it’s a franchise that I hold very dear to my heart,” she said of her former Northern Mystics club.
“I’ve played for them for eight years now and before that we were called the Auckland Diamonds.”
Israel’s four-year, $4 million contract was torn up on Friday in the wake of him posting a biblical quote which said homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented.
It was the second time Folau had sparked controversy through his social media accounts, also reprimanded for a similar post in 2018.
Maria has remained silent since Israel’s latest post, but publicly came out in support of her husband when he first sparked controversy last year.
“Stand with God no matter what … Don’t be afraid to stand up for the truth, even if that means you will be standing alone,” she wrote on Instagram.
Maria was in attendance for Israel’s code of conduct hearing with RA earlier this month, taking time away from training with her Adelaide Thunderbirds teammates.
However New Zealand head coach Noeline Taurua says she has no qualms picking Maria in her World Cup squad, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding her husband.
“I have no issue with her,” Taurua told Stuff.
“I have no cause for concern at the moment. As long as she does what she needs to do out on court and is prepared as much as possible like anybody else, she’s in the same [selection] boat.
“She’s toiling away behind the scenes over here [in Australia].
“She’s learning a lot I know and being immersed in the Australian way will only be positive for her game.”