Time for Kieran Foran to cut the umbilical chord, tear away the apron strings, release Jim Doyle, and let the Warriors CEO get back to the front office.

Or, as is the more likely case, it's the other way round. Time for Jim Doyle to let Kieran Foran get on with being a footballer.

Foran made it clear the debt he owed Doyle, when the controversial signing had his first Warriors press conference as the beleaguered NRL side prepares to face the Gold Coast Titans.

The Warriors aren't a rehabilitation centre. This is a football club and - bottom line - Foran was brought here as a footballer, and an exceptionally good one.


Foran and Doyle appeared inseparable at Kogarah Oval, where Foran had to pull out of the almost inevitable loss to the Dragons after twinging a hamstring in the warm-ups.

The pictures can lie, leave a false impression, but I don't think so. Foran has been Doyle's special project, and the player needed support as he dealt with problems of mind and body.

But Foran can't remain a front office pet. That's not how footy teams work. Time to let the team be the team.

Foran has got to become one of the boys, and then a leader of men with no obvious signs of extra-special support. These Warriors need both a rocket and direction, and a lot of that drive needs to come from within. This is hard to measure, but I'd wager the Foran Circus has been a distraction, and it needs to stop. Right now, the Warriors look like a mob who could completely unravel.

Foran has to bring that hard Manly attitude and nous to Auckland and quick, because that is what he was signed to do. So far, there has been no sign of it on the field by remote influence.

League is a fairly simple enterprise. As the Dragons - who have straightened their notoriously blunt attack - showed, running and hitting harder is at the core of the game.

I've got no doubt that Foran's presence can bring out the best in Shaun Johnson, but funnily enough Johnson isn't actually the one to worry about right now. The oft-criticised playmaker was trying every trick in his considerable book to the end against the Dragons, and he created a few chances.

Yes, his structure can be scruffy. But he was trying damned hard, while surrounded by too many lemons including forwards who laid the sort of platform that would give a building inspector a heart attack.


But there's rubbish all over the park in Steve Kearney's brave new world so far.
Nothing was more infuriating than yet another piece of hopelessly inferior football from Tui Lolohea, when he excitedly kicked and chased like a five-year-old at the beach, wasting a rare piece of quality attack engineered by Bodene Thompson and Simon Mannering.

Lolohea doesn't have the head for these heights, something you see when he swoops on ball as if it's a playground lolly scramble. Missed that toffee - oh well, there will be another one somewhere.

Doyle's next special project might be encouraging Lolohea to find another club, to see if all that potential we keep hearing about can be honed elsewhere. Auckland has become a dead end for him, a confusing mess.

He's been mucked about position-wise, to be fair to the young man. But Lolohea is so bad that coach Kearney has plonked journeyman centre Blake Ayshford in his place on the wing for Sunday's game in Auckland. With all the raw football talent in the city, wing should never be a problem this bad.

Ayshford on the wing? Are things that dire? Maybe it's a trick.

Cranky cricket


There's got to be a happy medium somewhere, even when everyone seems so unhappy.
The India-Australia cricket series stepped over a line, to steal a line from Virat Kohli, the belligerent Indian captain. Buried in the vitriol was a riveting cricket contest, but it was overshadowed by the nastiness.

Once blokes like Kohli and his Aussie counterpart Steve Smith start biting, there's no stopping them. Smith couldn't help himself, admitting (I think) he went too far. Throw in the odd peripheral loose cannon, like Ian Healy, and it's war. In comparison, the New Zealand-South Africa series was very tame, maybe too tame.

A dead-set miracle

Kane Williamson is leaving cricket, and joining that band of elite sports people who - can't think of another word sorry - transcend their team sports. Everything is so straightforward for the Kiwi cricket captain - the way he bats, the way he behaves. He's a really nice, low maintenance genius.

The only blot at the moment is his dire handling of the decision review system. But his batting, well, it is off the charts. He made the Hamilton conditions look easy, whereas everyone else found them hard. His numbers are outstanding by world standards, and stratospheric by New Zealand's. He doesn't do slumps, unless you are counting coin tosses.

As a batsman, Williamson is a once-in-a-century player for New Zealand. He's alongside Colin Meads, Richie McCaw, Richard Hadlee, Wynton Rufer, Steven Adams...in a different world.