League: Foran brings halfback spark to these shores

By Peter Jessup

Liam Foran wants the halfback job at the Warriors.

There's only one man he'd concede the jersey to by choice - his younger brother Kieran.

Liam, 20, will shift from the Melbourne Storm to Auckland after this season. Kieran, 18, is playing with the Manly Sea Eagles under-20s.

Both were born in Auckland and played together through junior grades at the Ellerslie Eagles before the family shifted to Sydney.

Liam graduated through the North Sydney Bears SG Ball (U-18s) and Jersey Flegg (U-20s) sides before being signed by the Storm. He was called up for his first NRL game when regular halfback Cooper Cronk and eight others were away with the State of Origin teams mid-season.

He showed his talent in Wellington at the end of last year when the Junior Kiwis beat their Australian counterparts 24-22.

But with Cronk ahead of him he wasn't getting the chances he wanted in the NRL.

"It made it hard, I didn't think I was getting a fair crack to show my skills."

So with his contract up, he talked to the Warriors. "I thought it was a good opportunity. They have an opening there at halfback and that's been a big part of my decision," he said, agreeing he wants to grab the No 7 jersey and make it his own as Stacey Jones did.

"I do see myself filling that hole," he said from Melbourne this week - not comparing himself to Jones, though.

The Warriors pack for 2009 and the emerging talent in under-20s were other reasons he decided on Auckland.

"With the players they have there won't be any shortage of go-forward, they would be really good to play behind. Any halfback will tell you how much easier it is when you're going forward."

And while Mum and Dad are still in Sydney, he has lots of family here.

In juniors, school and in backyard games Liam always played five-eighth while Kieran played halfback. The older Foran says even these days when he links up with his brother there is an instant clicking into gear.

"We definitely want to play together at some stage in the future," Liam Foran said. "First we both want to establish ourselves in first grade. I've signed for a year with an option for a second year so hopefully I'll play well next season and get that second year."

Kieran is off contract with Manly in 2010 so they may look for a package deal and the Warriors may be it.

If they do get signed somewhere together it would continue a long tradition of Kiwi siblings teaming up for the same club - Kurt and Dane Sorensen at Cronulla, Kevin and Tony Iro at Wigan, Henry and Robbie Paul at Bradford, Jason and Nathan Cayless at Parramatta, Tea and Iva Ropati and then Vinnie and Louis Anderson at the Warriors - all brothers who also represented the Kiwis.

Liam would happily step aside from seven and resume the old partnership from five-eighth, he said. "Kieran always preferred halfback and that's the way it's been since we were young.

"There's definitely something there between us. He always played up a grade because he enjoyed that understanding that we have.

"We feed off each other, push each other."

In that Junior Kiwis test the elder Foran showed a good kicking game, the ability to both break tackles and to set up his outsides as well as solid defence.

He looked at times as though he was loping along, not at full pace, with time to spare.

In top games, that is an illusion created by the best players on the field.

- NZ Herald

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