JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

It's almost a deal - Folau set to sign with Eels

Date

Brad Walter, Adrian Proszenko

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

What will Israel Folau do next?

23 year-old Israel Folau tells the media his plans to leave the AFL after two seasons with Greater Western Sydney.

PT0M0S 620 349

A US holiday with good friends Jarryd Hayne, Tim Mannah and Joseph Paulo may have sowed the seeds for Israel Folau's return to the NRL next season.

Folau, who told GWS officials on Wednesday that he no longer had the desire to play AFL, spent two weeks in Los Angeles, Miami and New York with the Eels stars.

Luring the former Storm and Broncos star back to the NRL had been discussed at Parramatta for 18 months and attempts to recruit him stepped up after Ricky Stuart's appointment as coach in August.

Big move back ... Israel Folau at the press conference announcing his retirement from AFL.

Big move back ... Israel Folau at the press conference announcing his retirement from AFL. Photo: Getty Images

Stuart's association with Folau goes back to the time the then Kangaroos coach chose him in 2007 to make his Test debut at 18 years and 184 days old - the youngest player to have represented Australia.

Eels recruitment manager Peter Nolan was also the man responsible for enticing him from Melbourne to Brisbane in 2009.

But it his relationship with Hayne, with whom he long played league at Minto, and the other Parramatta players that has almost guaranteed he will be in a blue and gold jersey next season.

''The deal is definitely not done but we are doing everything we possibly can to have Israel playing for the Eels and we are doing it in consultation with the NRL,'' Stuart said. "We are very fortunate that he wants to play for the Eels and I think it is fantastic for rugby league."

Folau's brother, John, is already at Parramatta, while another sibling, Eni, also spent time in the Eels system. The 23-year-old has been a guest of Parramatta officials at NRL games during his two-year stint with the Giants but he insisted that it was only in the last month that he began seriously contemplating a return to rugby league.

With GWS due back at training on Friday, Folau had to make a decision now.

''It was a pretty hard decision to make and one I had been thinking about for a while,'' he said. ''In the end the passion wasn't quite there and I think if I was staying I was kind of cheating myself. I had to be honest and move forward.'' Folau, who had another two years of his lucrative AFL contract left to run, said he had not spoken to any NRL club about his future but he has been in the sight of the Eels since officials debated whether to focus their energy on signing Folau or Sonny Bill Williams.

While former coach Steve Kearney met Williams, it quickly became apparent the dual international had a handshake deal with Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis, a good friend of Parramatta chairman Roy Spagnolo.

Spagnolo's focus turned to Folau, with one source claiming: ''We started working on this 18 months ago. Folau was never going to last more than a year in the AFL.''

Since then, the key figure in negotiations between the Eels and the GWS pin-up has been Nolan, who is close to Folau's manager, Isaac Moses.

As far back as April, Fairfax reported that the Eels were Folau's most likely destination if he were to switch back to the NRL.

It's believed that negotiations between the parties have been intensified in recent months. However, Ken Edwards, the newly appointed chief executive of the Eels football club, denied that a deal was done.

''He is the sort of player and person that we are certainly interested in,'' he said.

''We could see him fitting into the culture that we are building here and we could see him being a part of the club going forward. We would possibly have some salary cap issues in the first year we are yet to discuss with the NRL.

''We would be interested and we would seek to talk to his management.''

The Eels have shed several high-profile players including Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke Burt, Shane Shackleton and Justin Poore. Officials were finalising their salary cap position on Thursday for 2013 and believe they have sufficient space in future years should they need to entice the Queensland and Australian three-quarter.

Related Coverage

What will Israel Folau do next? (Thumbnail) What will Israel Folau do next?

23 year-old Israel Folau tells the media his plans to leave the AFL after two seasons with Greater Western Sydney.

Rugby league's the winner as Izzy and Sonny prepare for encore performance

IF you listen to Kevin Sheedy, the GWS Giants did Ricky Stuart a favour by poaching Israel Folau to play in the AFL.

Folau has been in Parra plans for long time

About 18 months ago, Parramatta officials first sat down and debated whether to focus their energy on signing Israel Folau or Sonny Bill Williams.

The coup that backfired

It is hard to think of a redeeming feature for this experiment.

Exit leaves Giants free to chase Tippett

GREATER Western Sydney are planning to meet Kurt Tippett next week, as the club explores the possibility of moving some of Israel Folau's marketing millions over to the controversial former Adelaide forward.

What now for Folau? The big issues ...

We take a look at some of the potential issues facing Israel Folau after his move back to the NRL.

Related Coverage

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Final
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
England 3 1 2 0 0 2
Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
View all
 
Featured advertisers