Foran close to NRL return with Warriors
KIERAN Foran is set for his long-awaited return to the NRL on Sunday after being named on an extended bench for the Warriors against St George Illawarra at UOW Jubilee Oval.
Foran had been expected to play against the Bulldogs last week in Dunedin but his return was delayed by long-term shoulder injury.
The Kiwi international has not played since since suffering a torn bicep tendon on May 30 in his former side Parramatta's 20-18 win over Newcastle last season.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said Foran, 26, was not a certainty to play on the weekend, with a decision on his involvement to be made later this week as he works to prove his fitness after a slower-than-expected recovery from shoulder surgery.
Foran has built up his contact training in the past two weeks, running and defending against the Warriors' NRL side last week.
"He's ticking along okay," Kearney told Radio Sport in New Zealand.
"He's got a protocol that we're working through with him this week, through to the end of the week, and if he ticks the boxes that we need him to tick, there'll be a chance."
Foran's potential comeback to the NRL comes after a roller-coaster past 12 months for the former Manly five-eighth.
He survived an attempted suicide by prescription pill overdose before being granted a release from a multi-million-dollar Parramatta contract last July after playing only nine times for the Eels.
Questions were also raised about Foran's friendship with gambling identity Eddie Hayson, with the NRL only granting him a licence to start playing again in round three of this campaign.
Kearney said he was glad to have Foran back but warned he would not necessarily be the answer to the Warriors' problems in attack after a patchy start to the 2017 season.
"Kieran will help that, I'm sure, but Kieran isn't the sole answer to this," he said.
"It's a matter of making sure that we're all playing our part, it's a collective energy. If the front-rowers aren't doing their job, then the backs can't do theirs effectively."
Another big inclusion for the Warriors will be captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has been named at fullback.
The Kiwi international withdrew from the side that lost 24-12 to the Bulldogs due to a concussion suffered in the round-two loss to Melbourne.
Tuimoala Lolohea moves back to the right wing where he began the campaign, with Ken Maumalo moving to the left flank in place of the injured Manu Vatuvei, who has a knee problem.
Former Warriors skipper Simon Mannering will break the club record for most NRL appearances.
The 30-year-old will go past Stacey Jones's mark of 261 games for the Warriors.
Mannering made his debut alongside Jones in 2005 against Brisbane at Mount Smart Stadium.