Israel Folau has once again turned his back on the NRL to
take up an offer to play rugby union overseas.
Parramatta and the NRL announced on Friday that Folau would
not make a much-anticipated return to the code he left at the
end of 2010.
Folau quit AFL's Greater Western Sydney Giants on October 31
saying he wanted to return to rugby league with the Eels.
But after protracted negotiations Parramatta were informed
that Folau would instead join rugby, with France's Top 14
competition a possible destination.
"This has come as something of a surprise to us today," Eels
chief executive Ken Edwards said in a statement.
"Our offer to Israel was unconditional. We have worked
closely with the NRL and have always been confident that
salary-cap issues would be resolved.
"It is disappointing that Izzy (Folau) at this stage has
chosen to pursue another path but we've also been clear that
we are about having players who are focussed on what we are
trying to achieve as a club.
"It is why we had previously ruled out short-term appearances
with other codes. We are comfortable with our current playing
roster ahead of the 2013 season."
The Nine Network reported Folau turned down a four-year deal
worth $3 million.
Interim chief executive Shane Mattiske said the NRL and the
Eels had done everything they could to lure Folau back to
"We worked in good faith with the club to ensure that
Israel's contract could be met within the (salary) cap and it
is unfortunate that he has elected to pursue another path,"
"It would have been nice to see Israel back in the NRL
because it is the game he is most suited to and the one that
I think would have given him the biggest challenge in facing
the best athletes in the most exciting contests week in and
"Ultimately, though, it is his choice and we have to respect
that. I think Parramatta has done everything possible and we
have certainly worked closely with them in that process."