https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/jo...stian-waratah-jumps-ship-20190606-p51v5c.html John Folau has quit the Waratahs and will return to rugby league next weekend as it emerged one of his fellow Christian teammates at NSW has also walked out on the club in the wake of the Israel Folau saga. The Herald can reveal John Folau will link with Manly’s feeder team Blacktown Workers after being granted an immediate release from the Waratahs for “personal reasons”. However, Folau is not the only Christian player to quit the Waratahs at short notice, with close friend and South African-born second-rower Le Roux Roets cutting ties with the club. The Waratahs confirmed to the Herald that Roets, who had an option to extend his one-year deal for another two seasons and is yet to make his Super Rugby debut, had his contract mutually terminated but said it was on the basis of performance. Nonetheless, the timing is interesting to say the least. John Folau recently baptised Roets in a backyard pool and the pair attend the same church in Kenthurst that Israel Folau regularly frequents. Coach Daryl Gibson confirmed Folau’s release on Thursday but wouldn’t be drawn on whether his departure was related to the treatment of his brother, who is the Waratahs and Rugby Australia. "John has been in a difficult position for the last wee while," Gibson said. "He has got really divided loyalties to his family and his brother and then also to the team. We totally respect that position." Meanwhile, Blacktown has signed Folau for the remainder of the season and will run out for the side in next Sunday’s clash with the Dragons at HE Laybutt Field. The Blacktown contract will provide Folau a chance to impress Manly coach Des Hasler and potentially force his way into the Sea Eagles’ top-30 squad for this season or next. The 24-year-old has already made eight NRL appearances for Parramatta after debuting in 2015 and has returned to the 13-man code after seemingly becoming disillusioned with Rugby Australia’s treatment of Israel. Folau has a strong relationship with Blacktown Workers coach Steve Hales from their time together at the Eels. It’s understood the pair were in contact while the Folau family’s rugby careers were in limbo and that Hales was keen to add him to his roster. Folau won’t be the only high-profile addition to Blacktown’s side next week. Another former Eel, Tony Williams, will make his long-awaited return after serving his suspension for a second strike under the code’s illicit drugs policy. The former NSW and Australian back-rower tested positive to cocaine last year at Parramatta but can resume his career after completing his mandatory 12-game ban. Folau made a strong start to his NRL career, debuting while still a teenager. The winger scored two tries in his first home game at Parramatta against the Rabbitohs in 2015, but injuries restricted him to just eight appearances. The Queensland under-20s representative had a brief stint with Blacktown before switching to rugby in a bid to kickstart his career. He was part of the Waratahs squad and named on their bench for a round seven clash with the Sunwolves but didn’t take the field. He has been on the cusp of making his debut on several occasions but those close to him believe the dramas with Israel may have cruelled his chances. Israel Folau is believed to be interested in returning to rugby league and has been linked to the Broncos, a move the club denies. The NRL has made it clear they are not prepared to allow him to come back to the game in which he made his name, a stance reiterated by ARLC chairman Peter Beattie during the week. Israel Folau’s legal representatives confirmed on Thursday that they have filed applications with the Fair Work Commission in a bid to deal with the termination of his $4 million Rugby Australia contract on religious freedom grounds. The application was filed against RA and the Waratahs under section 772 of the Fair Work Act in what is shaping as a landmark case. “I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation,” Israel Folau said in a statement. “Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us. “The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded. No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion.