Kieran Foran wanted to remain with Warriors for 2018 until late change of heart

Kieran Foran has loved his time in Auckland.
PHOTOSPORT

Kieran Foran has loved his time in Auckland.

The Warriors came within a whisker of keeping Kieran Foran for the 2018 NRL season.

It was confirmed two weeks ago that Foran would leave the Warriors at the end of the year and continue his rugby league career at the Bulldogs.

There had been plenty of speculation before the announcement that it was a done deal that he'd play under Des Hasler back in Sydney.

Even afterwards there was criticism of Foran for using the Warriors as a vehicle to rebuild his career and life, before heading back to Australia on a massive new deal.

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However, it can be revealed that just a couple of days before Foran announced he was leaving, he had his heart set on remaining at the Warriors for 2018.

It all changed when he was in Australia for the Kiwis' test against the Kangaroos in Canberra.

During that time he discovered that if he remained at the Warriors it could have considerably affected his access to his two young children.

Foran then reluctantly informed the Warriors that he wouldn't be able to sign on for another year, so agreed terms with the Bulldogs.

To paint Foran as someone who took advantage of Warriors and the helping hand shown to him by the club's managing director Jim Doyle is well wide of the mark.

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Foran has thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Warriors, and not just because he has got to play alongside his great pal Shaun Johnson.

Warriors prop James Gavet, who has signed a contract to remain at the club for a further two years, recently summed up what it's like to be a Warriors player and how Foran had embraced that.

"It's a lot different to the other clubs I've been with and even to what it was at the Broncos," Gavet said.

"It's a real closely knitted group and for Kieran to witness it has brought him back to loving the game again, through the family feel that we have here.

"Even in the tough weeks when we lose, we never feel like we're down and out.

"We've got this saying to 'keep it in the circle'. I've heard it at other clubs before, but the Warriors have definitely completely taken that on board.

"Kieran is a big part of that. He is at the forefront of it, being in the leadership group and is encouraging others that whatever is happening out there, whether we win or lose, this is us and it's all we've got.

"He's changed heaps and I wish him well when he goes to Sydney. I know he'd do well wherever he goes. He's got a spring back in his step now."

In the first half of last weekend's game against the Panthers Foran showed just how much value he's providing to the club, scoring a try, kicking a 40/20 and setting up another try.

But the second half showed that Foran can't be the answer to all of the club's problems, which go deeper than who plays at five-eighth.

The club are busily making plans for who'll wear the No 6 jersey at the club next year, whoever it is it won't be someone as good as Foran.

It was a unique opportunity that opened up for Doyle to pick up one of the best players in the world at a bargain basement price.

If he was to have stayed for another year, they would have had to pay him market value, which would have been around $1million.

That money can be diverted into other positions where the club's need is more desperate, such as at prop.

Foran will give it everything for the Warriors for the remainder of the season, even if this is yet another campaign where they've failed to finish in the top eight.

Some would argue that the Foran signing was a failure if they do miss out, but his professionalism, work ethic and commitment to the cause should live on for long after he leaves.

 - Sunday Star Times

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