You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'Good chance' of Foran Warriors debut

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Warriors boss Stephen Kearney has rated Kieran Foran a good chance to make his club debut in Sunday's clash with the Dragons in Sydney.

The troubled 26-year-old received full clearance to return to the NRL in last week's 24-12 loss to the Bulldogs in Dunedin, but was not named in the travelling party due to a long-term shoulder issue.

He has since been named on an extended Warriors bench for Sunday's round four match, with young gun Ata Hingano handed the No.6 jumper.

Nevertheless, Kearney told reporters on Wednesday he was optimistic the ex-Kiwis playmaker would take to the field against the Dragons.

Foran has not played an NRL match since May 30 last year, having departed former club Parramatta to address various personal issues.

He linked up with the Warriors in September and has spent the past six months rehabilitating his shoulder and addressing his mental health.

He could be seen training with his teammates - including full contact drills and tackling - in Auckland on Wednesday.

"He's a good chance - got to pass a few tests," Kearney said.

"Tomorrow is another day he needs to get through, (so) I can't give you a definite but we need to see how he pulls up from today and tomorrow."

Foran's on-field nous and calming influence were sorely missed in Dunedin, as a one-dimensional Warriors failed time after time to convert possession into points.

Shaun Johnson and Hingano's fifth-tackle options frequently went to waste, particularly in the first quarter, before the side's defence collapsed late on.

Kearney backed Foran to add direction to the side's spine alongside halves partner Johnson if passed fit, as well as some much-needed grit.

He would be smart enough and strong enough to handle the NRL's intensity immediately, despite a 10-month absence from the game.

"You can hear him, he's pretty vocal out there," Kearney said.

"I don't think you can exactly replicate a game but he's a pretty intelligent footballer and the smarter footballers know the efficient way to get around.

"When Kieran's playing his best footy, you want him in your team."

Elsewhere, skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is a near-certainty to return to the field at fullback after missing the Bulldogs clash with concussion.

However the news for veteran winger Manu Vatuvei was less positive after aggravating a knee injury in Dunedin.

He may need minor knee surgery to address the issue.

Kearney said that irrespective of Tuivasa-Sheck and Foran's returns, his side would have to be better across the park in key moments.

"There were areas of our attack on Friday where we needed to be better, and there were individuals within the structure we had that I don't think fulfilled their roles," Kearney said.

"I want them to fix that first - and then whatever Kieran does, when Roger plays, they add something to it."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon