The St George Illawarra Dragons have opted against signing controversial superstar Israel Folau in a desperate club meeting.

The St George Illawarra Dragons have ditched their pursuit of controversial superstar Israel Folau following a crucial general meeting on Wednesday night.

Club powerbrokers gathered to discuss the severe backlash they had copped after enquiring with the NRL about signing the code-hopper.

It was in that meeting they decided not to proceed with discussions with Folau to join the Dragons this season on a two-year deal worth $1 million.

The Dragons had been in talks with head office about the steps they would need to take if they decided to submit a contract for registration.

But they decided the process would be too difficult and not worth the inevitable brand damage, given Folau’s history of making controversial remarks about homosexuality.

The extreme finances involved with the poaching was also likely a factor in St George Illawarra opting against pursuing Folau further. His Super League club, Catalans, had told the Dragons they would only release him early if they paid a fee of $200,000, a hefty amount on top of the salary they had been willing to give him.

ARL Commission officials will continue to discuss whether they should allow Folau back into the game when they meet on Thursday.

It’s unlikely the former Kangaroos and Maroons representative will have much support from the ARL Commission if he chooses to pursue a deal with another NRL club, however the game’s leaders insist the 31-year-old’s application would be considered.

Folau had asked Catalans to release him with a year to run on his contract on the grounds of compassion, telling them he wanted to return to Australia to be closer to his sick mother-in-law.

The Dragons released the following statement on Wednesday night:

“St George Illawarra have provided the following update in relation to Israel Folau,” the statement reads.

“While the Dragons did enquire about signing Folau, the club can confirm that such discussions have now ceased.

“The Dragons will make no further comment.”

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