The Warriors have ruled out making a play for Israel Folau if he becomes available on the open market.

The future of the under-fire Wallabies fullback is uncertain, as the fallout from his controversial social media comments continues on both sides of the Tasman.

If he does cut ties with the Australian Rugby Union, Folau wouldn't be short of options, including a stint in Japanese or European rugby.

But a return to the NRL would be another option, as Folau made his name in the 13-a-side code with the Broncos and Storm.


He was a teenage sensation when he broke onto the scene in 2007, anointed as the Dally M Rookie of the Year, and he scored 73 tries in 91 NRL matches before switching to AFL.

A return to league might also easier from a domestic point of view, considering his Silver Fern wife Maria's netball commitments in this part of the world.

The Warriors have previously been linked with Folau, and the club has an ongoing relationship with his agent Issac Moses, with a number of players from his stable.

Folau's name was discussed at Mt Smart early last year – but it's unlikely he will be this time.

Firstly, the Warriors don't have the salary cap space.

The majority of their roster is signed up to the end of next season, and the club has spent big money on acquisitions such as Tohu Harris, Blake Green and Adam Blair, as well as the retention of Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Folau would command at least A$1 million a year, which would need to be topped up with third party and endorsement deals.

Secondly, for all Folau's extraordinary range of talents, there probably isn't an obvious place for him on the roster.


Tuivasa-Sheck is established at fullback and locked up on a long-term deal, and the club is happy with the present balance provided by Peta Hiku and Solomone Kata in the centres, while David Fusitu'a adds the aerial option on the wing.

It's also perhaps a sign of the club's progress that they are no longer linked with every high profile name that comes off contract, as they were in the not too distant past.

They've also realised – thanks to their ill-fated experiment with Sam Tomkins – that one big name can't change the club.

There might also be hesitation, on the Warriors' part, to disrupt the culture that has been carefully built since the offseason.

As was demonstrated with Kieran Foran last year, as well as Jarryd Hayne at the Titans, the presence of a big personality in the dressing room can affect the delicate balance of team chemistry.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney was reluctant to discuss Folau this week but made it clear it was extremely unlikely.

"It's a very long shot I would have thought," said Kearney, when asked if the Warriors were going to discuss Folau.

"I will let you know if that happens."

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