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Israel Folau Granted Rugby League Return After Signing With The Southport Tigers

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Israel Folau Granted Rugby League Return After Signing With The Southport Tigers

Israel Folau is all set to play rugby league in Australia again thanks to billionaire Clive Palmer.

The controversial code hopper will make his triumphant return to the sport in the Gold Coast's local A-grade competition with the Southport Tigers.

Dressed in the club's jersey, Folau sat alongside Palmer as they announced their partnership.

The billionaire's mining company Minerology has made a donation to the club in exchange for Folau being allowed to sign with them.

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He said in a press release that Folau could take to the field as early as May 29 when the Southport Tigers take on the Burleigh Bears.

"It is clear that Israel is undoubtably the world's number one player. He was unfairly punished and persecuted for his religious beliefs and it is only right that he should return to the game," the statement read.

The 32-year-old was famously dumped by Rugby Australia following a series of homophobic social media posts.

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He then made his way over to the Super League in the UK and played with the Catalan Dragons for a single season.

Folau was knocked back from applying for NRL's top tier, despite initial interest from St George Illawarra.

During the press conference, Folau was directly asked whether he was or is homophobic.

"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," he said.

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When pressed again for an answer, he said he believes every word that was written in the holy book and that's all he'll say. This is ironic considering the tattooed player must've missed Leviticus 19:28, where God says it's sinful to get a tattoo.

Clive Palmer. Credit: PA
Clive Palmer. Credit: PA

He was also asked whether he has any regrets about the past, which he denied.

Clive Palmer has been one of Folau's biggest supporters and even took out a massive ad in the Courier Mail newspaper saying 'Let Israel Folau Play Football'.

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The United Australia Party leader also sent a letter to the Queensland Rugby League urging them to support an application for the cross-code star to sign with the Tigers.

During his press conference, Palmer said the star player shouldn't be hounded for the rest of his life about the Instagram post that saw him booted from the Wallabies.

"For me, it's nothing extraordinary that someone makes a quote from the bible," he said. "It shouldn't affect someone's livelihood and how he can support his children.

"We want an example where people of all faiths can play sport. Religious freedom is a fundamental right in this country.

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Palmer used to play for the Southport Tigers in the junior league and has been a proud backer of the side ever since.

Featured Image Credit: Nine News

Topics: Comeback, Israel Folau, Rugby Australia, nrl news, Rugby League, nrl, Australia

Max Sherry
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