Martin Devlin: Israel Folau's NRL career is over

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Feb 2021, 12:36PM

Martin Devlin: Israel Folau's NRL career is over

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Feb 2021, 12:36PM

Israel Folau will never play in the NRL again.

The best thing about the St George story this week is what a good reminder of how toxic this guy still is and how utterly unmissed he is as a player. And that's the most important thing to consider.

First and foremost, salary-cap wise, is he good enough to command what he'd cost? That answer making it even easier to dismiss this idea outright before you'd even begin to debate the divide he'd bring off the field.

In this day and age that divide is just economically not worth it. The publicity he generates is off-putting to most major sponsors and, without whatever moral aspect you wish to attach to all this, the economics of the equation plus the actual ability he possesses don't add up. He's yesterday's news on both fronts.

Two words define my argument: Jarryd Hayne. He left the NRL as the game's best player, months later when he tried to return he wasn't half the guy he was before he left. The game moves on and moves on fast.

Israel's long been left behind as an elite league winger or fullback. He last played NRL in 2010 and last played international rugby in 2019. By the time he's finished his contract in France he'll be almost 33. The numbers suggest he's way gone.

But, with all things IF, it's been a great headline all week that's generated plenty of clicks. Folau is someone that people, for whatever reasons, still like to read and talk about even after spending the last year and more out of sight and mind in France.

Let's make this very clear. There is no coming back for Israel Folau and there is no comeback either.