Warriors boss rubbishes claims Kieran Foran has signed with the Bulldogs
Warriors boss Jim Doyle has rubbished suggestions star half Kieran Foran has signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
"Kieran has not made a decision yet, he has not signed with the Bulldogs," Doyle said in a video interview posted on the club's website.
The comment came after the latest news reports out of Australia indicated the star Kiwis playmaker had committed to the Bulldogs, where his former Manly coach and mentor Des Hasler is now in charge.
But the Warriors deny Foran has signed with the Bulldogs. They also say they're "pretty close" to securing the signature of Foran's halves partner Shaun Johnson.
"I got a text from the Bulldogs CEO after midnight last night saying despite what is on the back page of the newspaper we have got no agreement with Kieran Foran," Doyle said.
"He may go back to Sydney, he may stay here. Obviously he is finding it very difficult to make a decision because his kids are there but at this point in time he is still working through that.
"He wants to focus on playing really good football for this club and helping this club but at the same time he is drawn in regards to does he go back to Sydney for his kids.
"At this point in time he has not signed with anyone."
The conjecture over Foran comes as the Warriors prepare for the Anzac Day clash against premiership frontrunners the Storm in Melbourne.
Speaking to the media following training on Friday, coach Stephen Kearney refused to elaborate on the issue but insisted it had not been a distraction.
"It's been addressed by the football club with our fans and our members. I'm totally focused on what's ahead of us on Tuesday," Kearney said.
Foran signed a one-year deal for 2017 with the Warriors in September last year.
After dealing with several personal issues, he was cleared to return by the NRL for the Warriors in round three, before eventually making his club debut in a round five victory against the Titans.
Doyle said although they hoped to keep Foran beyond this year, they had always known they may only have his services for one year and had planned accordingly.
"We made a decision a while ago that we could have Kieran Foran as part of this club.
"[We knew] it may be for only be for one year because he came here because he wanted to come back to New Zealand, get his life back on track and play for the Warriors.
"He's been very open about that from start. We made a decision because we had young halves in Tui [Lolohea] and Ata [Hingano] that if [Foran] comes here, even for a year and plays well, [it would be beneficial].
"He's one of the best halves in world, we got him at a bargain, basement price. We thought it was not going to have big impact on our salary cap and help us be a more successful club.
"He could leave something behind even if he was only here for year, by teaching some of our young halves for the future."
Doyle also commented on the future of Foran's halves partner Johnson, who is also yet to sign for the club beyond this season.
Johnson has been weighing up his options and Doyle said they were "pretty close" to finalising a deal.
"I spent some time again with with Shaun yesterday, I also met with his manager this week.
"Shaun wants to get success and help this club get success."
Doyle said the contract situations had been complicated by the lack of confirmation around the salary cap after this year.
The NRL finally gave the clubs a figure last night, which Doyle said had offered some clarity as they tried to secure the services of current players and entice new players to the club.
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says he's trying to keep star signing Kieran Foran in the right head space to play league as talk of Foran's future at the club shows no sign of dying down.
Speculation has swirled since before Foran returned to the field in 2017 that the playmaker's stint at the Warriors would end in 2018 with a return to a Sydney club.