Dragons contemplate Folau contract extension

Catalans coach Steve McNamara says he’s happy with Israel Folau’s form and attitude – but that any talks over extending his one-year deal in France will have to go on the back burner because of the coronavirus crisis.
The 31-year-old cross-code international back, who was last year sacked by Australian rugby union’s governing body after he made homophobic social media posts, was a controversial Catalans signing in January.
The former Melbourne, Brisbane and Queensland star made three appearances for the Dragons before the Super League lockdown, scoring a try on his debut in the 36-18 home win over Castleford.
Suggestions that the NRL could resume before Super League, with the former setting a target of May 28 for a return to action, have led to reports that Southern Hemisphere clubs could target the likes of Folau, Catalans teammate James Maloney, Toronto’s Sonny Bill Williams, Wigan’s Jackson Hastings and Warrington’s Blake Austin on short-term deals.
But South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly, the former RFL board member and one-time general manager of Super League, has dismissed such speculation, saying it “is not grounded in reality”.
Meanwhile, halfback Maloney, who joined the Dragons from Penrith this season and is in lockdown with his family in France, said of a potential stint back in Australia: “I think it’s probably more headaches logistically than what it’s sort of worth, and I just don’t think it’s possible.”
Discussing Folau in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, McNamara said: “The main thing that caught our eye was how hard he has worked for the team and how he did that on the back of not a great fitness base, given his time out of the sport.
“To roll up his sleeves the way he did and work as hard as he did in just three games, that was the biggest thing that impressed us.
“When we made the decision to sign him it was on a one-year deal and about giving Izzy that opportunity.
“If he continues to keep working hard and enjoying what he’s doing here, it (a contract extension) is something we’ll look at in the future. It’s not on our agenda right now.
“I’m sure there will be speculation about him, but for us it was our agreement to get him back playing, getting that smile on his face, and he was in the process of doing that.
“We’ll speak to Izzy at the right time.”