The Dragons had been awaiting direction from head office in regards to the steps they would need to take to submit a contract for registration. It became clear that process would be too arduous, and not worth the potential damage to the Dragons’ brand, if they continued their pursuit.
The Dragons board meeting came on the eve of Thursday’s ARL Commission meeting, where Folau’s future was meant to be on the agenda.
It is unlikely Folau will have much support on the ARLC if he chooses to pursue an alternative option at another NRL club, however the game’s leaders are adamant the 31-year-old’s application will be considered if a club provides the necessary paperwork.
What that paperwork needed to include was meant to be decided at Thursday’s commission meeting, with Folau likely to have had to meet with chairman Peter V’landys and chief executive Andrew Abdo as part of the process.
Folau had been in contact with Catalans during the past 24 hours to allay the Super League club’s concerns it had been lied to by the star centre, who has asked for a release from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds to remain in Australia to be with his sick mother-in-law.
Catalans could have demanded a transfer fee, believed to be worth about $200,000, before granting him a release. St George Illawarra left aside close to $400,000 in this year’s salary cap as part of a two-year, $1 million proposal for the former Melbourne and Brisbane centre.
Earlier on Wednesday, Blues coach Brad Fittler joked about Folau representing NSW, where he was born, instead of playing for Queensland in this year’s State of Origin series.
“I like watching Israel Folau play footy,” Fittler said. “I don’t necessarily listen to anything he says because I don’t have social media and I am not over any of that.