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David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors' bid to sign Kieran Foran could be blocked by 'Israel Folau' rule

The NRL's 'Israel Folau' rule could prevent the Warriors from signing troubled Kiwis international Kieran Foran.

The Warriors are believed to be close to securing the former Manly and Parramatta playmaker on a one-year deal for next season but the possibility of the NRL enforcing a notional value rule could see the Auckland-based outfit struggle to fit him beneath the salary cap.

The same rule famously prevented Parramatta from securing the signature of former Kangaroo and Queensland State of Origin star and current Wallaby wing Israel Folau when he considered a return to league in 2013.

Folau was priced out of the Eels range as the NRL attempted to thwart potential cap loopholes with heavily back-ended contracts and numerous third-party deals.

The Warriors prospects of signing Foran hinge largely on the fact he is reportedly willing to sign on for much less than the multi-million dollar contract that he was on at Parramatta prior to being granted a release on compassionate grounds in July.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle is confident of the Warriors chances of snaring the 26-year-old five-eighth but said they would not be able to afford him if the NRL classed his value in the vicinity of $1 million per season.

"If that's the case then he won't be here at the Warriors," said Doyle.

"We've got no contract at this point in time with Kieran. That's still a work in progress. We continue to talk to him on a regular basis.

"I would say I'm confident but, as I say to some people, if I would say we were the favourites but the favourite doesn't always win."

The situation is clouded by the fact the NRL will not confirm a minimum amount that Foran should be paid. The Warriors and Foran need to come to an agreement regarding a contract offer and the club will then need to submit that deal for the NRL to approve.

"They won't actually say 'we'll only register him at this figure' because they say 'we don't even need to contemplate that until such time as a contract is registered'.

"First and foremost you have to have two willing parties to agree to a certain number and then obviously they'll assess that from there.

"You'll make an agreement with a player for a certain amount of money and then you'll lodge that contract and the NRL will decide whether to register it or not."

Newly appointed Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has had a long association with Foran since handing him his New Zealand test debut back in 2009.

Kearney was not overly keen to discuss the prospect of Foran joining the Warriors but said the club could help him work through various personal struggles as he prepares to make a playing return.

"He's still got a fair bit to work through and hopefully he becomes a part of the club and we can help him through that process," said Kearney.

Doyle acknowledged Foran also has to answer to the NRL's integrity unit and answer questions over his association with controversial betting identity Eddie Hayson and and allegations linking him with match fixing before a new contract is approved.

The game's governing body also want assurances that he has taken steps to improve his mental wellbeing and is in a fit state to embark on a return to the game.

While Foran's reputation is under a cloud, Doyle said it was unfair to assume he was guilty of any wrong-doing.

"I read something in the paper about Jarryd Hayne and it is just a cloud, so you can't pre-judge anyone," he said.

"We'll have to spend a bit of time with him working through a process.

"They've made that clear obviously so that will just be a part of the process.

"So from our point of view if we think he's got the right values, the right attributes as a person, and we think he's in the right condition, then he's someone that we would potentially go after."

When asked if Kearney's appointment would help to deliver Foran to Mt Smart Stadium, Doyle replied: "You'd have to ask Kieran."

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