Israel Folau’s return to the NRL has moved a significant step closer, but there’s a big price to pay.

Israel Folau’s return to the NRL has moved a significant step closer with his French club Catalans declaring they are prepared to release the controversial star – for a price.

Folau is still contracted to Catalans for next season and would not be allowed to join St George Illawarra without a release.

But Catalans boss Bernard Guasch has declared his club will release Folau if the Dragons gave his club a tidy sum for their troubles.

“We are not going to break the contract of Israel Folau without compensation,” Guasch said in a clear message to the Dragons.

Israel Folau

It is believed the Catalans club will allow Folau to return to Sydney for around $200,000.

Now the Dragons have to decide whether it is worth paying that amount – on top of Folau’s hefty wage demands.

But there is another hurdle – the NRL is yet to give the Dragons the green light in the wake of Folau’s homophobic rants that ended his association with Rugby Australia.

I ran a poll on Twitter over the past 24 hours and over 5000 fans voted – with around 65 per cent saying they did not want to see Folau back in the NRL.

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