Troubled Kiwis and Parramatta star Kieran Foran is certain to skipper the Eels in tonight's NRL clash against Melbourne, despite details of an alleged betting splurge being leaked to a Sydney newspaper.
Foran is set to launch legal action after News Corp reported $75,000 had been gambled out of his TAB account just hours after leaving a Brisbane rehabilitation clinic to address personal issues last week.
But while the latest allegations have rocked the Eels camp ahead of Foran's comeback match, coach Brad Arthur confirmed the New Zealand international would lead the team out the tunnel.
"He's fine. He's in a real good head space," Arthur said yesterday.
"He's looking forward to getting back around his teammates. He trained well on Friday, he's looking forward to playing some football. I think he feels like he owes his teammates a big performance."
The players' union slammed the Daily Telegraph report on Saturday, declaring that Foran's management claimed there were factual inaccuracies in the story and would pursue legal action.
Arthur credited Foran's recent stint in rehabilitation for helping the No7 take the news well.
"I have not seen him this strong mentally for a while," he said. "I spoke to him yesterday and it just shows that while he has been away, he's been getting some really good help because he handled it really well. He was really strong about it."
While Arthur declined to comment specifically on Foran's personal issues, he was disappointed at the recent allegations and called on the media to respect Foran's privacy.
"That information was supposed to be strictly confidential as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I think the time's come where the player's personal lives have got to be kept out of the media. They're footballers, but they're people. I just think a little bit of privacy would go a long way."
Arthur also said Foran would soon share his troubles with the media.
Asked how long he known of Foran's issues, Arthur said: "That needs to be a question that Kieran needs to answer for you when he's ready to talk to the media.
"I'm sure at some stage he'll be happy to give his story because it's a way of him being able to help others," he said.
Arthur revealed Foran had trained to a specified programme with trainer Paul Devlin while recovering in Queensland, including a kicking session with AFL club Brisbane Lions.
He also confirmed Foran would immediately return and continue his treatment in Brisbane tomorrow.
A TAB spokesperson told Channel 9: "TAB takes the protection of customer information extremely seriously ... it is inappropriate to comment on anything relating to individual customers."