Israel Folau was forced to watch on as the cold reality of his return to Australian sport was hammered home in his team’s 88-0 loss.
The code-hopping star squirmed in the stands as the Burleigh Bears trounced his Southport Tigers, getting close to triple digits in the process.
The 32-year-old is still in limbo as he seeks to play rugby league in Australia again, with the Queensland Rugby League refusing to register his contract unless given clearance to do so by his UK Super League club Catalans.
At a press conference earlier this month, Folau announced he was making a comeback to rugby league Down Under after signing with amateur club Southport in the Gold Coast’s A-Grade competition.
Clive Palmer is backing Folau’s move to Southport, but the deal still needs to be ratified by the QRL. The mining magnate threatened to issue a Federal Court injunction against the governing body for religious discrimination if it didn’t give Folau the green light.
Catalans Dragons, meanwhile, are also contemplating legal action of their own as a result of Folau still remaining under contract until the end of the season.
Palmer again made a show of public support for Folau this weekend when they watched the Tigers’ humiliating defeat on the Gold Coast together.
Folau was spotted sitting alongside former NRL star Tony Williams, who had his contract with the New York Freedom in the NARL torn up over disgraceful comments directed to the victim in Jarryd Hayne’s sexual assault case.
Palmer is reportedly also attempting to gain clearance for Williams to make his return through the Gold Coast A-Grade competition.
Folau’s teammates incidentally gave the former Wallabies star a reality check when they were blown off the park.
The Tigers are scheduled to play Tugun Seahawks next week but is unclear whether Folau will be taking to the field for his debut.
Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia was torn up in 2019 for homophobic posts made on social media, and it was earlier reported the QRL wants a written guarantee from the 32-year-old he will not publicly express his views on homosexuality — which include the belief gay people will go to hell unless they repent for their sins.
In a statement last week, the QRL said: “The QRL acknowledge that previous social media comments made by Folau, whilst not a registered participant in rugby league at the time, do not align to the beliefs of the game, or the QRL.
“The QRL is an inclusive organisation with a proud diversity and inclusion framework.”
Originally published as Folau squirms over humiliating reality