Israel Folau
Israel Folau Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Rumours Folau could leave rugby for a Sydney NRL club

IT seems as though the Dragons and Panthers have been linked to every player on the open market in recent weeks ... even code-hopper Israel Folau.

Reports surfaced yesterday the two Sydney clubs have emerged as front-runners to lure the former Maroons and Kangaroos representative back to rugby league.

Folau is expected to be named in the Wallabies' initial 25-man squad on Sunday for the British and Irish Lions series, which could see his market value increase.

But Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said he was confident, on the back of Folau's outstanding form in the 15-man code, he could keep him in a blue jumper.

Also yesterday, it emerged Melbourne prop Bryan Norrie was in high demand in the UK, with six Super League clubs keen on his signature from 2014.

The Storm had plans to cut the 30-year-old from its roster, but his excellent form this season has caused a rethink.

Norrie has been a classic example of how coach Craig Bellamy gets the best out of unheralded players, picking him up from the Wagga Kangaroos after it appeared his NRL career was over.