David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Kieran Foran signs with Warriors

Kiwis playmaker Kieran Foran will be plying his trade for the Warriors next season. Photo / Getty
Kiwis playmaker Kieran Foran will be plying his trade for the Warriors next season. Photo / Getty

Kieran Foran will resume his NRL career with the Warriors - pending a clearance from the NRL - after signing a one-year deal with the Auckland-based club for next season.

After almost two months of negotiations, the Warriors beat out several clubs, including the Bulldogs, Storm, Rabbitohs and Dragons, to land the signature of the former Manly and Parramatta playmaker.

While the Warriors and Foran have agreed terms, the NRL still need to give the deal the green light and require assurances Foran has dealt with numerous off-field issues, while the integrity unit also want answers from him regarding allegations linking him to match fixing.

The Warriors were always favourites to secure the 26-year-old five-eighth but his reluctance to leave Sydney and his two young children saw him explore other options that would have allowed him to remain in Australia.

But his strong relationship with Warriors managing director Jim Doyle, who has provided Foran with support and advice in recent months, proved pivotal in him committing to terms after a verbal agreement was struck in recent weeks.

"We have worked through the option of coming to Auckland carefully with him," said Doyle.

"There has been much to consider in creating an environment for Kieran to not only return to football but also to put all the support around him that he needs.

"I'm delighted that following those discussions, Kieran has now decided to join the Warriors.

"The next step is to work alongside the NRL to cover off all requirements to have the contract registered."

While Foran's signing remains under a cloud, Doyle's strong standing among the game's administrators and the fact the club went public with the news, bodes well for the Warriors' hopes of having the deal rubber stamped.

The Warriors previously attempted to sign Foran as he approached the end of his time at Manly in 2015 but the arrival of his second child contributed to his decision to remain in Sydney and join the Eels.

The news follows a tumultuous year for Foran in which he quit the game after he was granted a release in July from his multi-million-dollar deal with Parramatta.

Foran spent the current NRL season with the Parramatta Eels. Photo / Getty
Foran spent the current NRL season with the Parramatta Eels. Photo / Getty

In April, the Ellerslie Eagles junior spent time in a Brisbane rehabilitation clinic as his life unravelled following the breakdown in his relationship with his former partner and mother of his two children Rebecca Pope.

The 20-test Kiwis international joined the Eels this year after seven years with the Sea Eagles but played only nine matches in the blue and gold before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Newcastle on May 30.

Throughout his hiatus, Foran's name has been continually linked to rumours of corruption in the NRL, and his association with controversial betting identity Eddie Hayson attracted the interest of both the New South Wales police and NRL's integrity unit.

"I've had a lot of time to think about my future over the last few months," said Foran from Sydney.

"Initially, footy was the furthest thing from my mind and I needed time away from the game.

"More recently, the desire to play again has completely returned and I'm very keen to make a big contribution next year.

"While I had other options, coming to Auckland emerged as the best decision for me.

"Being in a new environment was important but I'm also incredibly excited by the potential of the club and the quality roster it has.

"I can't wait to be part of the team and I want to play a major role in 2017 in taking the club to the next level.

"I have so many people to thank for making this happen and for supporting me through what's been a tough period.

"Now I want to repay them. The Warriors have so much to offer and I'm looking forward to working with so many players I know from the Kiwis, as well as Mooks [new Warriors coach Stephen Kearney]."

Kearney, who handed Foran his test debut in 2009, welcomed his arrival at the club.

"He's such a high-quality footballer and competitor who will add a lot to our squad," he said.

"Kieran and I have been in contact throughout the year and I know he has made a lot of progress with the challenges he has had. I'm extremely pleased to have him on board."

Foran made his name in the NRL at Manly. Photo / Getty
Foran made his name in the NRL at Manly. Photo / Getty

Foran brings with him the experience of having won a grand final in 2011 with the Sea Eagles, when they overcame the Ivan Cleary-coached Warriors 24-10.

But it remains to be seen whether he can put his recent dramas behind him and rediscover the form of years gone by to help the Warriors end a drought of five seasons without finals football and 21 without an NRL premiership.

Kieran Foran - now a Warrior

Date of Birth: July 13, 1990
Birthplace: Auckland
Junior Clubs: Ellerslie Eagles, Asquith Magpies
Position: Five-eighth/halfback
Height: 1.8m
Weight: 90kg
Rep Honours: 20 Tests for Kiwis (2009-2015), NRL All Stars (2013 & 2015)
NRL Debut: Manly v Canberra, Brookvale Oval, June 21, 2009 (Round 15)
NRL Career: 156 appearances (2009-2016)
Manly: 147 appearances (2009-2015)
Parramatta: 9 appearances (2016)
NRL Points: 148 points (35 tries, 4 goals)

- NZ Herald

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