Former Wallabies star fullback Israel Folau has announced his intention to return to rugby league.
Facing the media with Queensland MP Clive Palmer by his side, the unexpected duo state that Folau has formally applied to the Queensland Rugby League, where he would don the orange and black of the Southport Tigers, a club Palmer is a patron of.
Questioned about whether he stood by the social media posts that caused his contract with Rugby Australia to be torn apart Folau said he remains loyal to his religion.
"I tell you what I do stand for, as a Christian I stand by the bible and what the bible says – every written word in that book I stand by that. I believe what the bible says. I didn’t write the bible that is God’s written word and I believe that wholeheartedly.”
Palmer is adamant that the 32-year old is well within his rights to return to rugby league and threatened legal action if Folau is denied the opportunity.
"We want an example where people of all faiths can play sport. Religious freedom is a fundamental right in this country," he said.
“I’ve got some resources and if it got down to a legal battle I’m sure anyone opposing somebody on the basis of religious persecution would go down very seriously and pay damages. There’s no legal basis to not register him, he’s been cleared by the Broncos.”
Additionally, Folau was faced with a much more awkward question regarding the 'lesbian reference' in the team song, which includes a line that reportedly says, "we want lesbians on our faces.."
Israel responded to the comment by saying: "I’ve just signed with the club. I have no idea about what the song is.”
I wonder if @IzzyFolau will sing the Southport Tigers team song when they win... which includes this line “we want lesbians on our faces..” can’t wait for this 9am media conference with Folau and @CliveFPalmer
— Bianca Stone (@Bianca_Stone) May 20, 2021
Swiftly intercepting, Palmer responded to the claims: "I’ve been a player and been there for 50 years and I haven’t heard it,”
“It sounds like a beat-up and someone’s given you that. I just don’t think it’s true. I can say as a player who played as Tigers.
“I was in the dressing room last Sunday and they weren’t singing the song then. I think it’s sensationalism.”
However, it should be noted that the Southport Tigers wouldn't have sung their team song last week, going down to Runaway Bay Seagulls 34-4.
Something more exciting and personal for the 32-year old is that he will be given the opportunity to play alongside his two brothers, who both play in the A-Grade side.