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Folau secures Catalans release, set to play for Southport on Saturday

Catalans had been demanding a “clearance fee” after allowing Folau to return to Australia late last year on compassionate grounds. The Dragons claimed Folau remained under contract to them, while the 32-year-old alleged the contract was repudiated after the Super League club failed to meet its financial obligations to him.

In the end, a settlement was reached.

“Israel has been great with us in 2020 both on and off the field and we wanted to facilitate the negotiations to reach an agreement,” Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch said in a statement.

“He told us his desire to play alongside his two brothers and we didn’t want to prevent him [doing so]. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career.”

The QRL believes Folau’s attempt to return to park football on the Gold Coast is the first step towards a comeback to the Queensland Cup and NRL competition.

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Folau’s close friend, Tony Williams, was recently cleared to play for Southport. The former NSW and Australian back-rower said it would be the realisation of a childhood dream to play together.

“That would be a story to write, I tell you what, and playing A-grade too,” Williams told the Herald last month. “Me and Izzy we grew up together, [both attended] Westfields High.

“My dad and his dad are cousins, I’ve known his family since we were kids. We did athletics together when we were really young teens.

“We’ve played against each other and I’ve always wanted to play with him. It would be something special.”

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