17 Jan 2017

Folau linked with Warriors NRL switch

9:54 am on 17 January 2017

Wallabies rugby star Israel Folau has been linked with a surprise switch back to rugby league with the Warriors.

 Israel Folau of the Wallabies.

Israel Folau of the Wallabies. Photo: Getty

The 27-year-old Folau, a former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos player, is reportedly a prime target for the Auckland-based NRL club for 2018.

He has played rugby for the Waratahs and Wallabies since 2013 after a brief stint with AFL club Greater Western Sydney.

Australian magazine Rugby League Week reported that Folau is open to an NRL return, and the Warriors are keen to spend big to get him.

His relationship with veteran Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei, a close friend, is also thought to be key to any acquisition.

Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau.

Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau. Photo: Instagram

A move to Auckland might also make sense given his engagement to New Zealand Silver Ferns netball star Maria Tutaia, who plays for the Northern Mystics.

Folau would be a valuable addition to the Warriors' outside back stocks, particularly alongside young gun Solomone Kata in the centres.

-AAP