David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Kieran Foran signing could be the biggest ever for Warriors

Kieran Foran. Photo / File
Kieran Foran. Photo / File

Kieran Foran might just be the most important signing in the Warriors history.

A year ago I would have said that with absolute certainty but now I say 'might' because there are plenty of question marks hanging over almost every aspect of Foran's life, let alone his ability to perform on the football field.

Which is why the NRL require evidence from the 26-year-old that he has moved to address numerous personal problems that led to him quitting the game in July and walking out on a multi-million dollar contract with Parramatta, before they give the thumbs up to his one-year deal with the Warriors.

At his best Foran will provide the Warriors with another player comparable to the relentless Simon Mannering in terms of toughness and competitive desire.

Forget last year's offseason marquee recruits Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke, Foran is the real deal in terms of proven performer and an elite competitor that could help deliver the club their maiden premiership.

Fans have a right to be excited about his potential to provide the Warriors with the clinical edge to turn them into genuine title contenders.

And what he can deliver for the team with the number six jersey on his back is almost equaled by what he can do to improve the performances of those around him.

His combinations with the likes of Kiwis test teammates Shaun Johnson, Tuivasa-Sheck and Luke will no doubt boost the Warriors attack but he will give much needed direction and composure to complement the flashy footwork and speed around him.

His strong tackling will also add considerable starch to their defensive line and like Mannering he will help lead the way for his teammates when times are tough.

But if Foran is still in some way lacking in motivation and hunger to play in the NRL then it could all go sour.

Only Foran really knows whether he is mentally and physically ready to return to the game as he continues his recovery from surgery on a season-ending shoulder injury.

Bigger questions linger over his connection to allegations of match fixing and his relationship with shady gambling figure Eddie Hayson, which the NRL's integrity unit also want to quiz him on.

It is difficult to measure just how much Foran's reputation has fallen in the eyes of many over the past 10 months as his personal troubles were made public.

The 26-year-old will arrive in New Zealand with a heavy heart having left his two children behind in Sydney with his former partner Rebecca Pope.

It's hoped the chance to start afresh will be the making of the man, who previously appeared to be so in control before his entire life spun completely off its axis.

He has a long way to go to win over those who have grown to view him as a potential liability, but a string of strong performances for the Warriors will quickly quell any discontent and help him to win back approval from all but the most suspicious and unforgiving minds.

Rugby league is full of redemptive stories and while Foran is not out of the woods yet, there is no reason why the Warriors and the game itself cannot be a part of his rehabilitation as both a player and person.

- NZ Herald

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