The Daily Telegraph reports…
“In early August, Israel Folau was plotting his escape from the AFL at the Hillsong churches in Baulkham Hills and Campbelltown.
Folau was spotted talking to incoming Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart, and on another occasion deep in talks with league player agents who do not represent him.
The 23-year-old was miserable in his new code, and wanted desperately to play for the Eels. It is where his younger brother John is playing, and the area where he spent his childhood years with friend Jarryd Hayne.
It wasn’t odd to see Folau – a Mormon – at Hillsong ceremonies because many followers of both denominations have cross-over friendships and socialise after prayers.
But Folau’s meetings to orchestrate his release from GWS did raise suspicion among some patrons.
On August 11, GWS were smashed 109-79 by Gold Coast – the Suns’ first home victory – which relegated the Giants to last place on the ladder. Folau was adamant he had to return to league for his own sanity, and the next afternoon met with an agent in the Baulkham Hills Hillsong church to discuss his future.
He also phoned another agent famous for freeing players from contracts.
Then Stuart began showing up at Hillsong gatherings.
Folau was so keen to join the Eels he was prepared to sign for one season just to prove himself, but his manager Isaac Moses was also in discussions with the Bulldogs.
After Folau spoke with Stuart, he was adamant that was where his future lay.
Early this week he arranged a sit-down with Stuart, which took place on Wednesday, and events unfolded rapidly….”