Maria Folau has been garnering almost as much coverage as her husband Israel over the pair's controversial fundraising campaign to fight his legal battle against Rugby Australia.

As the donations continue to tumble in on the new campaign page, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby, and reached more than $1.6 million as of 11am (NZT) on Wednesday morning Maria has been pushed further into the spotlight as ANZ, a major sponsor of Netball NZ flexed its muscles with a statement overnight.

That statement announced that ANZ, much like Qantas when it came to Israel Folau's initial social media posts, had made the governing body of her sport aware it did not back her views.

"We do not support the views of Silver Fern Maria Folau and have made our views known to her employer Netball NZ," ANZ media manager Stefan Herrick said in a statement.


[Read more: 'We will care for Maria': Silver Ferns back Folau]

With Maria Folau now in the firing line of a banking conglomerate, the Australian public is slowly getting to know the Silver Ferns star, who has been a sporting champion for just as long as her husband.

Maria was a star in her own right before even meeting the code-hopping former Australian rugby gun.

She debuted for her country at just 16 and she comes from a sporting family with cousin Siliva Siliva having played Super Rugby for the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels.

The talented goal attack is famous for nailing crucial goals at key moments in nailbiting games and has built a reputation as a formidable player on the court for both the Adelaide Thunderbirds and New Zealand's national team the Silver Ferns.

Despite Folau's prowess under the net, her time as one of the biggest stars the Silver Ferns, with 128 caps could be considered a failure.

They won Commonwealth gold in 2006 and 2010 but since then the big tournament wins have dried up and they finished out of the medals at the 2018 Comm Games on the Gold Coast.

Additionally they have not done any better than winning silver at the World Championships during Folau's best years but will be looking to change that this year in Liverpool, England.

Maria Folau in action for the Silver Ferns. Photo / Photosport
Maria Folau in action for the Silver Ferns. Photo / Photosport


At 32, Maria is two years her husband's senior but ever since they met the pair has been as inseparable as possible, despite a long-distance relationship.

The pair had been in a relationship for nine months before they went public, after being spotted together in Sydney and shortly after that announced their engagement in October 2016.

Almost a year later Folau opened up about the challenges he and Maria faced juggling their relationship and their respective careers.

"I felt very quickly that this relationship was different to anything else I'd known and Maria was the person I wanted to spend forever with," he said.

"We knew at the time we committed to each other that the next period of our lives would be full of challenges.

"I want Maria to achieve everything she can out of her netball career, and she feels the same way about my footy.

"Some days I jump on a plane to Auckland in the morning and fly back to Sydney the same night (you should see my frequent flyer points). Other days I talk on the phone for hours and hours (you should see my phone bills)."

Both before and after they were married the pair had plied their trades on opposite sides of the Tasman but eventually tied the knot in November of 2017 at Kangaroo Valley in the NSW Southern Highlands.

When sharing a snap from her nuptials on Instagram, Maria wrote: "Two imperfect people who refuse to give up on one another."


But the couple's happy day was overshadowed by her husband's comments about the same-sex marriage postal survey, where 69 per cent of Australians voted in support of changing the law to permit gay couples to marry.

Now Maria, despite not having commented publicly, has backed her husband's views on social media platforms.

"Stand with God no matter what … Don't be afraid to stand up for the truth, even if that means you will be standing alone," she posted on Instagram following Israel's first controversial post last year.

And just this week, she backed her man again, as she reposted her husband's plea for people to donate to his cause via GoFundMe, including a link to the page in her Instagram bio — that post earned the ire of Australian netball great Liz Ellis, who unleashed on social media.

Back in her native New Zealand, there are calls for the sport's governing body Netball New Zealand to issue disciplinary action.

So far, the organisation has stood by its star player.

Maria is returning home to train with the NZ Silver Ferns before the Netball World Cup next month and with her husband's hearing with the Fair Work Commission beginning Friday the scrutiny she faces may only increase.