MELBOURNE sensation Israel Folau is poised to walk away from his burgeoning rugby league career to pursue a two-year long Mormon mission overseas. Arguably the hottest prospect unearthed this season, the deeply religious 18-year-old has told The Daily Telegraph he could temporarily quit the game in just over 12 months. "You've got be 18 or 19 to do the mission, so I guess it's something I'm thinking about along with my football career," Folau said. "I've still got to make a decision about it for next year. It's possible I could do it next year." Having burst on to the scene with 20 tries in his debut season, Folau is a hot tip to be crowned Rookie of the Year at next Tuesday nights Dally M Awards. Carried out on thunderous thighs, his feats have prompted comparison with the great Mal Meninga. But when it comes to fulfilling one of his religion's most fundamental requirements, the rampaging three-quarter isn't fazed by the stardom that awaits. Should Folau decide to spread the message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from next year, it is likely his mission will start after the season because he is contracted with the Storm until 2008. "It's not something we have to do - it's up to the individual whether they go," Folau explained. "Some of my brothers have done it, so there is a bit of pressure to go. My mum reckons I should go. "I'll have to spend two years promoting the Mormon religion in another country or around Australia. "It's something I've always planned to do, but now football has come along. At the end of the day it's entirely my decision whether I go or not." Melbourne recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan - who scouted Folau in Brisbane three years ago - confirmed the mission could be imminent. "It might happen next year - that is a possibility," O'Sullivan said. Folau's best mate is Parramatta's Krisnan Inu - a fellow rookie star and Mormon. The pair attended the same church in Sydney's south-west as children and, like Folau, Inu is also giving serious thought to suspending his career to complete the mission. Folau said the pair had "not talked much" about undertaking the trip together. It is understood Inu was intent on leaving before the current season and had to be convinced by Eels officials to stay. Storm CEO Brian Waldron is similarly keen to retain Folau beyond next season. "I think Israel is incredibly important, not only to Melbourne, but also rugby league," Waldron said. "To grow the profile of the game we need heroes and there's no doubt Israel is developing a cult following on the back of what he has achieved this year."