Now that the NZ Warriors have secured the services of prize recruit Kieran Foran, Michael Burgess considers some of the key questions around his return to the rugby league field, after 12 months of personal and public drama.

What are the implications of a round three return for Foran?
It's the best possible outcome for the Warriors. The NRL was never going to allow Foran to come back in round one, and it's believed that, at one point, they were leaning towards a round six return for the former Manly premiership winner.

His return in the third week feels like a compromise deal between the club and the governing body. It might be a blessing in disguise, as there will be enough hype and attention on the Warriors ahead of their first game against the Knights on March 5, without Foran's presence adding another layer.

It also means that Ata Hingano or Mason Lino will get a chance to press their claims in the first fortnight, which is important, as halves depth will be needed later in the season if there are injuries to Shaun Johnson or Foran.


Is Foran the silver bullet for the Warriors?
No, he can't be.

Foran is a very special talent, and if he can recapture his form of 2012 and 2013, the 26-year-old could have a big impact at Mt Smart, but no one player can change the destiny of the Warriors and it's a dangerous trap to fall into.

If anyone needs a reminder, just look back at last year. The arrivals of Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were heralded as the start of a new chapter at the Warriors.

Then they lost four of their first six games, including defeats against the Tigers and the Sea Eagles, and ended the season 10th.

Any turnaround in 2017 will require a collective effort, with every single member of the squad improving their performance. That didn't happen last year.

Do the Warriors have the best spine in the NRL?
No. Maybe in time that kind of claim will be substantiated, but it can't be now.

Since Foran's signing last year, several Australian media outlets have been salivating over the prospect of an all-Kiwi test spine, but the Warriors have an unfortunate history of looking good on paper.

At the moment the Storm's Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater (or Cameron Munster) would be hard to top, and what about the Cowboys with Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Jake Granville and Lachlan Coote?

And you can't forget Jack Bird, James Maloney and Chad Townsend at the Sharks, all proven performers on a weekly basis in the NRL. ​