Troubled playmaker Kieran Foran has called upon his godfather, Auckland-based solicitor Don Mackinnon, to help him as he works through personal problems while hoping to make a return to the NRL next season.
Foran is considering a move to New Zealand and a one-year deal with the Warriors to escape intense media scrutiny in Sydney and initiate his playing comeback next year.
It is understood Foran has parted ways with his management company and reached out to Mackinnon, a respected lawyer with experience in sports law, to help him get his life and career options in order.
"I'm certainly helping Kieran," confirmed Mackinnon. "I'm officially Kieran's godfather and we saw a lot of the Forans when they lived in New Zealand and I've kept in contact with Kieran generally over the last few years but not closely.
"He's reached out to me and asked if I will help him get things back on track and the right thing to do is try to help the young man."
Foran continues to work through issues around depression that saw him given time off earlier this season to attend a Brisbane rehabilitation clinic.
The former Manly premiership winner was last month released from a multi-million dollar contract with Parramatta on compassionate grounds.
The 26-year-old joined the Eels this year after seven years with the Sea Eagles but played only seven matches in the blue and gold before his season ended with shoulder surgery.
Rumours continue to swirl around his alleged involvement in match-fixing, his fondness of both the punt and alcohol, and the toll taken on him by the breakdown of his relationship with long-term partner Rebecca Pope, the mother of his two children Jordan and Emmerson.
Foran's association with controversial betting identity and former brothel owner Eddie Hayson has also attracted the interest of the NRL, with chief executive Todd Greenberg last week confirming the game's integrity unit want him to answer some questions in due course.
"I'm giving him advice and I hope he's listening," said Mackinnon. "I think he is genuinely committed to making some changes. I wouldn't be trying to help him unless I thought he was genuine."
And following several difficult months the Ellerslie Eagles junior is beginning to consider a playing comeback and last week had follow-up surgery to fuse the AC joint in readiness for a return to the field.
Mackinnon is not a registered NRL player agent and is therefore unable to negotiate a playing contract for Foran, who is believed to be keen on arranging his own deal with Mackinnon's advice.
Mackinnon insists Foran and the Warriors have not engaged in any formal contractual discussions although the 26-year-old has been talking through his issues with club managing director Jim Doyle.
"In terms of when he next wants a rugby league contract I will probably oversee things from a legal perspective," explained Mackinnon.
There is no clear timeline for when Foran's playing future might be resolved and any plans to resume playing next year would depend on his ability to continue to improve both his mental and physical state.
Any potential move to Auckland would mean Foran would be further apart from his children, which may prove a stumbling block to him joining the Warriors.
"He has to keep moving things forward," said Mackinnon. "Kieran has made his clear that his first thing is his health, physical and mental. He's also made it clear that he hopes to be able to play next year if he keeps improving.
"And if he is well enough there will certainly be clubs that I'm sure will be interested in him. Then he has to balance up a whole lot of issues including fresh start, and all of those personal issues. It's too early to say.
"But he's just got to be well enough and confident enough that if he commits to a club for next year that he can deliver.
"That's a big decision for him and he's got to be really careful about it."