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Foran 'smiling again' as return looms

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/03/2017

Kieran Foran says he's smiling again but admits he isn't totally over the off-field problems that have plagued him.

Former NRL star Foran, who hopes to make his Warriors debut this weekend, says he is close to being physically and mentally 100 per cent ready to play.

"Mentally I've really noticed a change in myself and I'm starting to turn a corner there and get a smile back on my face, which is nice. It's been a while."

The 26-year-old says he can't guarantee his fitness for this Sunday's home match against the Gold Coast Titans.

Selected to return on Sunday against St George Illawarra, Foran was a late scratching because of a hamstring strain suffered during the warm-ups. He could only watch on as the Warriors crashed to a third straight loss.

He trained lightly on Tuesday and says he will leave a decision on his fitness until as late as possible this week.

If ruled out again, he is confident of facing Parramatta in round six.

It is the mental recuperation which was of most interest to journalists as Foran took questions for the first time since arriving in Auckland.

He admitted it has been a torrid time since his tumultuous exit from Parramatta last season to address personal issues.

Foran spent periods in a mental health clinic after the breakdown of his long-term relationship with the mother of his two young children. He needed to address drug and gambling issues.

He spent also spent his off-season waiting for the NRL to issue a clearance to return to the competition.

"There have been some difficult times and difficult periods there but I've got through it. I've got a great support network around me here in New Zealand," he said.

"I've got plenty of help and done plenty of work on myself and the things I needed to work on.

"There's still areas that I'm working on but at the moment I'm really happy with where I am and I'm just looking forward to playing footy again."

Foran says the slower pace of Auckland suits him more than the glare of Sydney, which he admitted to feeling last week when he crossed the Tasman to face the Dragons.

"I stayed tight amongst the group. The boys have been great there at protecting me and making sure I feel comfortable."

Foran says friends and family have been important during his rehabilitation but he singled out Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle for extra praise.

He revealed Doyle first contacted him last September to ask him to consider returning to the city of his birth.

The well-respected administrator had then taken it upon himself to shepherd Foran's progress.

"Jim's been phenomenal, I can't speak highly enough of the bloke," he said.

"I've said to everyone since getting to this club, it's been about Kieran the person first and football second.

"That's been Jim's main priority. He's done everything possible and got me all the help I've needed away from football.

"I've got a lot of extended family in Auckland so it's been nice getting back to my roots and what made me happy as a kid."

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