this is probably not suprising news but its supposed to come out today, why im still up after midnight i dont know lol
Folau set to jump over to Rebels
CHRIS BARRETT AND GLENN JACKSON
April 29, 2010
FORMER Melbourne Storm star Israel Folau is expected to announce today he is taking up a $600,000-a-season offer to leave Brisbane Broncos and be the face of rugby union’s new Super 15 franchise, the Melbourne Rebels, in 2011.
The move means the Broncos will now set their sights on luring one of the Melbourne Storm’s four superstars to replace him.
The Rebels are almost certain to today announce Folau as their latest signing, with the 21-year-old to tell his NRL club Brisbane that he will not be triggering a two-year option to remain in Queensland. His offer to switch codes is in the region of $600,000 a season, as opposed to the $1 million reported this week, and includes about $100,000 in top-up funding from the Australian Rugby Union.
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Folau’s decision to become the latest in a succession of high-profile converts to the 15-a-side game is likely to have grave ramifications for his representative aspirations this season, with Australian and Queensland officials last night indicating he would be overlooked for selection for the May 7 Test against New Zealand and then the State-of-Origin series if he joins the Rebels.
The Broncos will have plenty to spend on a replacement as they are already operating about $300,000 under the salary cap due to the departures of Joel Clinton, to England, and PJ Marsh, who was forced into premature retirement last month by a neck injury.
Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said yesterday Storm quartet Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk are on their shopping list.
‘‘Israel going would mean we’re perhaps one marquee player short,’’ Cullen said. ''But we wouldn’t be acting like vultures about it. We’d give [the Melbourne players] plenty of space to think about what they’re going to do, and when they’ve done that we certainly might be in the market for one of them.
‘‘Melbourne players are generally all signed to contracts, though. Everyone is forgetting that - no one is allowed to talk to them before November this year.’’
Cullen said he was anticipating Folau’s final decision today. He has been told the Rebels’ total offer to Folau exceeds $1 million.
‘‘It’s just a matter of him saying yes or no to the option,’’ he said. ‘‘When someone gets thrown that amount of money at them it has to be a tough decision to say no.’’
The Rebels’ interest in Folau was revealed by The Age on March 18.
Folau’s decision is understood to be based around lifestyle as much as money. The Age understands he stands to earn just over $600,000 a season with the Rebels, with the ARU providing $100,000 to top up a base salary of $140,000. The rest of his income would be covered by third-party payments, understood to total about $250,000 in the offer made to him, and match payments of $6000 for every Super 15 game he plays.
He could also earn $12,000 per Test if selected by the Wallabies.
Meanwhile, an agent for one of Storm’s top four players says he had received an offer from an English Super League club for twice his present deal with the Storm.
But NRL chief executive David Gallop has ruled out making any Storm players exempt from the salary cap in order to keep them in the NRL.
Melbourne’s coaching and playing staff remain defiant that they will not lose their top-shelf talent without a fight, even though they have to ensure they are under the salary cap in order to play for points next season.
There has been substantial interest in the leading quartet of Smith, Slater, Cronk and Inglis after the Storm was stripped of two premierships and their 2010 season was turned into a pointless exercise.
One player has since received two offers from the NRL and two from Super League - one of which amounted to more than $800,000.
But Gallop said while the loss would be ‘‘disappointing’’, the integrity of the game was more important than the loss of a player, even if was to rugby union or AFL. Which means that a cap exemption - whereby any player forced to leave Melbourne in their seemingly inevitable fire sale would be exempt from salary cap inclusion - has not been considered.
‘‘At a time like this, it’s really important that the rules are followed,’’ Gallop said. ‘‘If players receive approaches to go overseas, we would not be making exceptions to the rules. That would not be fair on the remaining players and clubs in the competition. It’s always disappointing when players go overseas, but there are too many precedents for maintaining a position that’s fair to everyone - we can’t make exceptions for one or two players.’’
One rival’s chief executive said Cronk would be a target for ‘‘15 NRL clubs’’ while Slater and Inglis have been linked to rugby union and AFL.
‘‘It’s just really premature at the moment,’’ Slater’s manager George Mimis said. ''Melbourne is as much family to Billy as his family. It’s way too early to start making those predictions.