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

Kearney mulling post-Foran Warriors path

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/05/2017 Angelo Risso

Warriors boss Stephen Kearney has lauded "super-competitor" Kieran Foran for lifting standards around the NRL club, as the playmaker officially heads towards the exit door and a return to Sydney.

Canterbury confirmed their acquisition of the Kiwis ace on a three-year deal on Wednesday, bringing Foran's brief stay in south Auckland to an end after 2017.

The 26-year-old joined the Warriors on a one-year deal in September after well-publicised mental health issues and has gone on to make five appearances for the club, adding structure and direction to their attack.

Yet despite finding a new lease on life in the country of his birth, Foran said the lure of playing a greater role in the lives of his two Sydneysider children, aged just three and one, was too great to resist.

Kearney - who only found out about Foran's decision on Tuesday - told reporters both he and the club respected and understood Foran's motivations.

Every resource was exhausted, according to the Warriors boss, to harmonise Foran's personal and professional lives - from fortnightly trips to Sydney during pre-season to extra time off after away NRL matches.

But now that the Aucklander has signed on the dotted line with the Bulldogs, he intended to move on quickly - and shore up his halves options for 2018.

With Tuimoala Lolohea on the verge of an exit from the club, young gun Ata Hingano is the most likely in-house replacement for Foran next year.

But Kearney didn't rule out a dip into the player market - despite most premier halves options either already signed or unwilling to cross the ditch.

"We anticipated this could be the case (and) with that in mind, we worked through some options at the time we were talking with Kieran - I'm sure you'll get a sense of that over the not-too-distant future," Kearney told reporters.

"We've got a couple options within, but we're looking through all options."

Having helped provide Foran with the psychiatric help and mental coaches he needed to get his life back on track, Kearney hoped the Bulldogs - and coach Des Hasler - would continue to invest in Foran's mental wellbeing.

In the meantime, he paid tribute to Foran for his impact on the squad and for laying the foundations of a successful 2017.

The five-eighth, for his part, was confident his experience in Auckland had made him mentally stronger, more self-assured and ready to return to Sydney.

He felt indebted to the club, and particular chief Jim Doyle, for taking a punt on him when few other options were on the table.

"I'm a lot stronger person, a lot more comfortable person and I've got no doubt in my mind that when I return to Sydney next year, I'll be fine," Foran said.

"It would've been nice to extend (the Warriors deal), but I feel like it's time for me to go back and play a bigger role in my children's lives.

"Things weren't great for me back in Sydney - my life had taken a downward spiral, it was out of control - (so) being able to come back to New Zealand, my homeland, take myself out of that environment for this year, it's changed my life forever."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon