Foran will give new hope to Warriors
NRL heart-breakers the Warriors will boast a world-class spine next year under new coach Stephen Kearney after signing troubled ex-Eel Kieran Foran to a one-year deal this week.
For Foran it's a chance to escape the media spotlight and start rebuilding his career across the Tasman after a traumatic 12 months in which he split with his partner, sought help for depression and was caught up in betting allegations with former Sydney brothel owner and punter Eddy Hayson.
For the Warriors it means the most disappointing club in the NRL will start 2017 with the brilliant Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who missed most of 2016 with a knee injury, at fullback, Foran in the No.6 jumper, the elusive Shaun Johnson at halfback and Issac Luke at No.9.
That's the Kiwis' Test spine.
It will give Kearney, who has surrendered his national coaching job, a great launching pad for his foray back into NRL as a head coach and Foran a chance to start fresh in familiar surrounds back in New Zealand where the media glare will not be anywhere near as intense as in Sydney.
The NRL is yet to register Foran's contract until it is satisfied every detail has been taken care after his split with Parramatta where had a $5 million, five-year deal until 2020.
The Warriors again were the NRL chokers after limping through the final rounds of 2016 to finish 10th, three points out of the top eight with one of the best rosters in the competition.
They lost Tuivasa-Sheck at the beginning of the season and had issues settling on a No.6 for most the season.
The expectation of the Warriors in 2017 will be even greater.
The club has turned to Kearney but kept Andrew McFadden on the coaching staff which seems a smart move given the players like him and he can help Kearney make the transition easier.
Given the changes in head coach and the quality Foran brings, the Warriors have to aim for a top four finish next season.
Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said Foran had spoken to Kearney about his desire to play for the Warriors and also New Zealand in next year's World Cup.
"He definitely wants to get his career back on track next year,” said Doyle who suggested he would have to end his friendship with Hayson and focus on his career.
Foran, who played only nine games for Parramatta last season, admitted he had to get away from rugby league this year to deal with some personal issues in his life.
"Being in a new environment was important but I'm also incredibly excited by the potential of the club and the quality roster it has,” he said.
"I can't wait to be part of the team and I want to play a major role in 2017 in taking the club to the next level.”