After the months of official and medical assessment by the National Rugby League (NRL) 7 highly talented; but troubled New Zealand rugby league player, can now call himself a Warrior. With Kieran Foran finally able to run out for the Vodafone Warriors, he can proudly wear the jersey after months on the sidelines watching – see above picture.
This follows the last two years of personal issues for the former Kiwi’s captain; who opted to leave the scrutiny of Sydney, to join the Vodafone Warriors. It all seemed to be a positive way to pair up with former Kiwi’s head coach Stephen Kearney–until the governing body put in place a registration and test period. The league would only sign-off the player to run out onto Mt Smart Stadium if he met certain medical, and mental health criteria. Aimed to both judge his own welfare, but also the associations that he was had back in Australia.
With that tick, he was give the green light to train officially with the club.
Foran Given All Clear to Play for the Warriors in 2017
Kieran Foran's contract registered ✅ 😌 🙌
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) February 15, 2017
Warriors CEO Jim Doyle has announced publicly that the experienced player has been cleared by the NRL to represent the club. Doyle excitedly told media of the news–with one caveat; that the player would be free to play only in Round Three.
“We have seen Kieran’s progress over the last few months and we are confident he will be ready for round three.”
It means his debut for the Warriors will come against Canterbury-Bankstown in Dunedin on March 17. That will have Warriors fans rejoicing, and underlines his future with the club.
The player himself, said “naturally I would love to return in round one because I love rugby league,” he said. “But both the club and NRL have put my welfare first throughout so I am just happy that my contract is registered. Now have a date for my return.”
And the 2013 Premiership winning player (see below) can now concentrate on re-building his skillset, to where it had been in the past called one of the best in the game.
Warriors Odds for 2017 Improve on Foran’s Inclusion
As the news that the 150 plus first-grade player would be lacing up his boots ‘officially’ for the New Zealand team, the odds for that team might take out the 2017 Telstra Premiership were bolstered. His inclusion, dramatically increases their chances.
The official TAB odds for the Warriors to win the title have now dropped to $1.60 (fifth-placed favourite).
And that was confirmed by the messages from Australian commentators. Former Kangaroos and Newcastle captain Andrew Johns claims it is great news for the warriors. He expressed that they would possibly ‘take the title’ but he was sure, that they would make the Top Eight.
Such plaudits already could be premature, but Mark Geyer and Andrew Voss reaffirmed that sentiment in comments to RadioSport. Voss was sure “it will make a difference at Mt Smart–provided his welfare is paramount.”
The decision to reintroduce Foran to first-grade in Round Three was an intelligent call. “It means he won’t arrive in Round One as ‘the guy’ to watch. His mental health is primary, so waiting for two weeks is good for him longterm.”
Integrity Unit Investigate Players Association’s and Actions
Current Warriors chief Jim Doyle, is more aware of the integrity of the game than most. He was the Chief Operating Officer for the NRL in 2013, when the Integrity Unit was enacted. At the time, it was brought about after the Crime Commission related information on supposed match fixing and sports betting.
Those same aspects are what Kieran Foran found himself involved with in 2016. Widespread speculation was made on his future, after the Parramatta club released him from his contract. After a series of incidents, the Integrity Unit investigated the player, his agent and his actions. Back in September 2016, the Integrity Unit wanted to quiz the ex-Parramatta five-eighth on his relationship with controversial punter Eddie Hayson.
It was believed that the players betting account was used inappropriately, although Hayson always said that he was never involved–though he did say to a gathered Sydney press that “Kieran was going through some bad times and we were both on the Central Coast together and I was there to talk to him.” Some reports say that Foran’s betting activity was financed by deposits by Hayson [but no illegal activity was determined].
Hayson said he is prepared to walk away and have no further contact with Foran if it helped the 26-year-old get approved by the NRL to return to the sport. Fortunately for the player, that was a wise decision.
Association a Risk to Players Future
The story behind the friendship is not entirely clear, but many say that Hayson used Foran to undermine the league’s betting policy. Even his ex-partner Rebecca Pope was questioned, and the pressure weighed heavily on the player–to the ‘breaking point’ where he was reported to have attempted suicide, which was a very dangerous position.
The shift to Auckland will have brought benefits for his rehabilitation. In terms of mental health, his private treatment will have been monitored by NRL; watched closely by stakeholders in both the game, and in relation to the person. Foran’s welfare has always been high on Jim Doyle’s list (and a credit to the organization).
At some points over the last 12 months, many rugby league observers would have thought that the player had ‘little to no chance’ of being registered. But with guidance, support and new goals, Foran has proved most wrong.
Kieran Foran On the Road to Full Recovery
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said “the expert advice we recently received indicates that Kieran’s recovery has reached the point where he is physically and mentally fit to return to rugby league.”
Hopefully, this positive news will only further improve the players mental health. After months sitting on the sideline (see main picture) by March 17, Kieran Foran will definitely be chomping at the bit to get out on the rugby league field.
Last Word On Rugby wish him all the very best in his on-going recovery.
The NRL 2017 Telstra Premiership starts on March 2, with the Warriors playing on Sunday March 5 against the Newcastle Knights, at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.
“Main photo credit”