Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Michael Burgess: Is Kieran Foran the silver bullet?

Kieran Foran in action for the Parramtta Eels. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Foran in action for the Parramtta Eels. Photo / Getty Images

The signing of Kieran Foran is an exciting prospect for Warriors fans - but we need to be a bit cautious about assessing his potential impact.

The Warriors announced last night they had secured the signature of the former Manly and Parramatta five eight, bringing weeks of speculation about his playing future to an end.

The 26-year-old will add to what is already an impressive, all-international spine, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke.

There will be a temptation to see Foran as a silver bullet; the missing link that will catapult the Warriors to unforeseen heights in 2017.

Let's wait and see.

History means we have to be sceptical, as big name players have often failed to create the expected impact at Mt Smart, for various reasons.

Over the last few years the Warriors have resembled a rowing eight where everyone is rowing in different directions.

In that situation, even dropping Eric Murray or Hamish Bond into the crew won't get you much closer to the finish line.

Look at what has happened over the last few years.

Sam Tomkins arrived for a world record fee at the end of the 2013 season, recognized as one of the best players in the British game. His presence was meant to take the Warriors to new levels in 2014.

There were some good moments that season but ultimately the Auckland club missed the top eight on point's differential. But then Ryan Hoffman - an Origin and Kangaroos back rower and one of the most respected forwards in the game - was announced as the latest recruit.

Coming from the ultra-professional Melbourne Storm, Hoffman would surely be enough to make a difference, the kind of player that could take them from pretenders to contenders, given they had also picked up Kiwis squad member Bodene Thompson.

Instead 2015 was - for various reasons - a bit of a disaster, as the Warriors slumped to 13th.

But the arrival of Tuivasa-Sheck and Luke at the end of last year seemed to change the equation for the Warriors. They were immediately installed as playoff certainties and even possibilities for the top four.

The club finished 10th.

All of the above doesn't mean that Foran won't have a big impact, but it needs to be acknowledged the Warriors are a team more complex than most.

However, there is no doubt that the 26-year-old is a special talent. As Andrew McFadden said a few weeks ago, "he's the kind of player that makes others around him better".

There are not many halves with his pedigree in the NRL. He's got attitude and ability in abundance, and will have a lot to prove come March next year, assuming he is mentally and emotionally ready for the challenge.

Maybe, just maybe, he is the crucial piece of the puzzle. Maybe the stars will align at Mt Smart, as another extra-terrestrial talent comes to Penrose.

Maybe.

- NZ Herald

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