NRL: Foran won't be the answer for the Warriors

By Dale Budge

Kieran Foran of the Eels looks on during the round three NRL match against the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Foran of the Eels looks on during the round three NRL match against the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images

Anyone thinking that getting Kieran Foran will solve the Warriors woes is dreaming.

The Kiwis and former Manly and Parramatta five-eighth has spoken to Warriors managing director Jim Doyle about playing for the Auckland club although no formal offer has yet been made.

Aside from battling some rather serious personal issues in recent months - Foran admitted trying to take his own life back in April - the Warriors would need to get him cleared by the NRL to register any potential contract. He was linked to match fixing accusations though those allegations are very much unsubstantiated at this point. Even if the Warriors managed to tick off all of that his arrival wouldn't be a catalyst to make them title contenders anyway.

Sure possessing the entire Kiwis spine would be a huge coup for the Warriors but it is no use having Lewis Hamilton trying to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix whilst driving a 1990 Nissan Sentra. The Warriors don't have the forward pack to match it with the best sides in the competition - they need upgrades there badly.

Individually the Warriors forwards show promise but collectively they don't have the right balance.

Simon Mannering and Ryan Hoffman are tireless workers and are great at their role but they off very little on attack. Ben Matulino carries the ball strongly but needs to get faster play-the-balls to lay a good foundation. Jacob Lillyman will cart the ball forward tirelessly but doesn't offer any late footwork at the line to ensure faster play-the-balls. Sam Lisone is brilliant one minute and then crazy the next. There is no real offloading specialist. There is no hard-running edge runner - though Bodene Thompson is effective on the right edge. There is no real aggressor - the enforcer that takes it upon himself to unsettle an opposition pack.

This Warriors roster looks good on paper - we were all duped into thinking the acquisition of Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck last year would turn the Warriors into contenders now. We were all wrong. And the addition of Foran will work out the same next season unless that pack is improved. The roster has been assembled to cover holes. Two 80 minute defense-focused back-rowers were signed to help a shaky edge defense. That limits attack - it makes it harder for Shaun Johnson or Foran to pry open a gap if they don't have much weaponry to play with. To cover for an under-sized pack the Warriors have used big, chunky wingers to help get sets going early and make it easier for the forwards to get into their work on tackle three onwards. But doing that leaves the Warriors vulnerable for those big wingers to be targeted with kicks in behind as the Rabbitohs so effectively managed on Saturday night.

The Warriors biggest need is to sort out the pack. They don't have a heap of money to spend under the cap so signing Foran would take up a significant portion of what they have to play with even if he came on a discount. There is not enough free space to sign Foran and make any significant additions to the forwards.

Foran is a fine player - he is tough, has a terrific work ethic and prior to this season would have been one of the best halves in the NRL. But adding him might be a luxury the Warriors don't actually need to really spruce up the roster.

Unless Doyle is planning on letting under contract players leave (think Manu Vatuvei) I see no major upside to picking up Foran at this point. In fact, the risk greatly outweighs the reward.

- NZ Herald

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