Dual-code international Israel Folau has agreed to join an amateur rugby league team in his native Australia.
Subject to Queensland Rugby League approval, Folau will now play for the Southport Tigers, backed by billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer.
“My commitment to ensure Israel Folau can play again is rock solid,” he said.
“I would pledge every cent, every dollar, and every waking moment of my time to ensure that he takes the field again.”
Folau returned to Australia with his family at the end of 2020 and the St George Illawarra Dragons unsuccessfully applied to the National Rugby League for permission to sign him in February.
Now Folau is hoping to play in the Gold Coast amateur competition for the Southport Tigers, where two of his brothers play.
A fundamentalist Christian, Folau posted a meme on social media in April 2019 which said that “hell awaits” gay people, among others.
Asked about the post on Friday, Folau said he stood by “the Bible and what the Bible says, every written word that’s written in that book, I stand by that and that’s all I’ll say about that.
“At the moment, I’m just excited about joining Southport and playing alongside my brothers,” he added. “That’s something I’ve never done in my career.”
Folau played in the NRL for Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos from 2007-10, before switching to Aussie rules and then rugby union.