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Eels spurn Tahs target Izzy

Date

Daniel Lane, James McSmith

Gave the Eels the flick ... Israel Folau.

Gave the Eels the flick ... Israel Folau. Photo: Getty Images

ONCE Parramatta's most sought-after player, Israel Folau has fallen so far from grace that he is now the club's most reviled individual.

Fairfax Media has been told the former league international - who switched to AFL for a fortune then abandoned the code - would be lucky to receive a free Eels sticker in future.

But while the Eels are furious with Folau, the NSW Waratahs have emerged as a possible home for the code-hopper. Despite speculation suggesting Folau would pursue a rugby career in France of Japan, the NSW Super Rugby side has emerged as the frontrunner for his services.

''Are the Waratahs on the cards? Definitely …'', a source close to Folau's camp said.

Folau burned his bridges with Parramatta on Friday when, just as the NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert had rubber-stamped the $3 million, four-year-deal for Folau to join the club, his management announced he would leave Australia to play rugby overseas. Fairfax Media received an insight into the contempt Parramatta now hold for Folau, and his manager Isaac Moses, when a high-level Eels source was asked if Folau would be given a second chance to join the club if he had a change of heart.

''If Israel Folau changed his mind tomorrow he would not get a crack here,'' the source said. ''That opportunity has passed for him. Gone. We thought he was a kid who, when he looked you in the eye, shook your hand and told you he was going to commit to something, he would do it. We were sadly mistaken.''

The Eels fought hard to try to sign Folau despite salary cap constraints because the Ricky Stuart-led coaching staff viewed his sudden availability on the market as a ''unique'' situation. Now that the club's struggle to sign Folau has amounted to nothing, the source made it clear there was never any intention to trade away or sack a player to accommodate him under the salary cap. ''Parramatta did not chase him, the Eels never chased him - he was chasing us,'' the source said. ''And I can tell you this too, Parramatta was never keen to move anybody to accommodate him … the club did everything it could by him and the league but, as everyone now knows it didn't eventuate. If you were to ask anyone how we're feeling, well, no one at Parramatta is moping about. If anything, there is a feeling it is good to know he is someone who doesn't keep his word.

''There is a sense of relief the club has found out the character of the bloke before handing over millions of dollars. We got a cheap lesson, but a disappointing one all the same.

''It all dragged on [the NRL salary cap situation]. Ricky Stuart said weeks ago it was stupid to be banging his head on the brick wall [to try and work out a deal with the NRL] and they all laughed when he said [Folau] would be lost to rugby union … I hope they're not laughing still.''

Parramatta went all-out to sign Folau after the 23-year-old terminated his multimillion-dollar deal with the Greater Western Sydney AFL franchise.

with AAP

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Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
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WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
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HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
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STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
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SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
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CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
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