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

NRL: Warriors star Kieran Foran announces move to Sydney after 2017 season

Kieran Foran is returning to Sydney - and has admitted that his stay at the Warriors was always only likely to be one year.

Foran confirmed yesterday afternoon that he was leaving Mt Smart at the end of this season, to link up with the Bulldogs on a three year deal.

That move had been strongly speculated for weeks, and seemed to be a done deal when the Bulldogs recently offloaded Josh Reynolds.

But right up until last week Foran insisted that he was still weighing up his options - and had yet to receive a formal offer from the Bulldogs - though family was always likely to come first.

Speaking with D'Arcy Waldegrave on Radio Sport, Foran said that extending his time in New Zealand was always an unlikely scenario.

"I am very grateful and thankful to the Warriors for reaching out and offering me [the] opportunities but [that] was always in the back of our minds - that one year was probably what I was looking at," said Foran. "Although it would have been nice to potentially extend longer it just wasn't going to be viable with the two young kids."

Foran also said that, despite all the rumours, there was always only one possible Australian destination.

"There was a lot of speculation linking me with a few other clubs but I was only interested in that one club (Bulldogs)," said Foran. "I obviously have a relationship with Des Hasler. I like his coaching style and they are a strong club and a club that I could see myself in the future."

But Foran denied that he had initiated the first move with the Bulldogs, saying that the contract has come about through a "mutual understanding".

"I didn't approach them," said Foran. "I was a free agent as soon as round one kicked off. I knew I was going to have to make a decision about my future fairly quickly."

"[With the Bulldogs] there was a mutual understanding. I wanted to be back in Sydney and once I had made that decision they were obviously interested to see if I was keen on linking up with them."

Foran said the process accelerated from round five onwards, when he made his playing return to the NRL.

"Things have been taking place for some time now," said Foran "[I was asking] could I stay in New Zealand for another 12 months or will I need to go back to Sydney? During that process you are talking to clubs and working out viable options and once I had decided that Sydney was where I would like to be I decided to pursue that offer."

Foran didn't want to expand on the discussions between him and his ex-wife Rebecca Pope, though it is understood that her strong preference was for him to be based in Sydney from 2018 onwards.

"I'm not prepared to discuss that private and confidential stuff between me and my ex-partner," said Foran. "At the end of the day it was a decision I felt comfortable with."

A candid Foran also admitted that the angst over his decision has been a heavy mental and emotional burden.

"It does play on your mind," said Foran. "It does affect you one way or another and it is nice to have that weight off my shoulders."

But he added that the experience at the Warriors had played a vital part in his recovery.

"The love and support that I have received since the day I landed back in this country has been phenomenal," said Foran. "It makes a difference and it made a difference to my recovery in terms of being able to get my life and my football career back on track when things were so great."

"It's a great club, really heading in the right direction and I'm proud to be a part of it for this year. It would have been nice to stay here longer but like I have said all along, I feel as a father of two young kids that it will be time at the end of this year to go back and be involved in their lives more prominently and hopefully people can understand that."

- NZ Herald

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