NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons pull the pin on Israel Folau deal after public backlash

St George Illawarra Dragons have pulled the pin on a potential deal for cross-code star Israel Folau, after facing a mountain of public backlash.

The Dragons board have met to discuss the deal and decided not to pursue the two-year million-dollar deal. 

Shock reports earlier this week revealed the Sydney-based club had applied to bring the controversial figure back to the NRL for the 2021 season. 

The club board reportedly gave the green light for plans to sign Folau, but faced considerable criticism and the club has backflipped on the idea after a general meeting on Wednesday. 

"While the Dragons did enquire about signing Folau, the club can confirm that such discussions have now ceased," the club says.

On Wednesday, New South Wales State of Origin coach Brad Fittler - one of the sport's all-time greats - admitted he was eager to see Folau's talents back on display on a rugby league field.

"I like watching Israel Folau play footy, but I don't necessarily listen to anything he says, because I don't have social media, so I'm not over any of that."

Folau signed a contract extension with French club Catalans Dragons in 2020 and is expected to return to the UK Super League club in 2021.

The 31-year-old hasn't played in the NRL since leaving Brisbane Broncos in 2010 and had his Rugby Australia contract torn up in 2019 for making homophobic comments on social media, bringing an end to his illustrious Wallabies career.