Kieran Foran realises it's Eddie Hayson or rugby league – and is ready to make the call
In all the talk in recent days about Kieran Foran joining the Warriors, there have been some significant names that have not been discussed: those of Foran’s two kids.
Without going deep into Foran’s personal situation, it’s fair to say the children are weighing most heavily on him. He doesn’t want to see his kids every second week during the football season, which is what would happen if he crossed the Tasman to play. That’s the reality Foran is facing because, at this point, his relationship with his former partner is beyond repair.
Heavy heart: Kieran Foran. Photo: Getty Images
She has been doing a great job bringing up the kids while Foran has been trying to find some clarity in a life that has been clouded by mental illness and some associations that no one outside his inner circle seem to understand. If Foran was a single man with no ties, a move to New Zealand would be a great one.
The other name that has been absent from discussions about Foran’s next move is Eddie Hayson, Foran’s great mate.
Hayson and some of his associates are under the microscope of the NRL integrity unit. Hayson, who was linked to Friday’s standing down of Roosters recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan, is regarded as a “no-go zone” for players. If Foran wants to play again he is going to have to be cleared by the integrity unit, which has a list of detailed questions they want answered.
Foran knows all of this and is ready to answer anything they want to know. He has no fears about being interrogated by the NRL.
And here is the key point: Foran knows football and his relationship with Hayson can’t coexist. He is telling those who count that he will put the game ahead of Hayson and if it means ending their association, he will do that. Hayson understands that.
Warriors boss Jim Doyle is a huge Foran fan. When Doyle was a senior executive at the NRL he used to rave about Foran. He told anyone who would listen as he was heading to the Warriors that Foran – not Issac Luke, or even Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – was the player he really wanted at the club.
The godfather: Kieran Foran and Don Mackinnon. Photo: Instagram
Doyle made his move several weeks ago. He contacted Paul Sutton, who was one of Foran’s two agents at the time, and asked if Foran had changed his number as he had been texting him without getting a reply. Sutton passed on the number and they have been talking since.
As we explained last week, Foran has parted ways with his agents. He is now teaming up with his godfather, Don Mackinnon, a respected New Zealand lawyer. Mackinnon has no desire to be a player agent, but is happy to be there for Foran at a difficult time. He played a fatherly role in Foran’s life as he was growing up and Foran has renewed their relationship in recent times.
In effect, Foran wants to do a deal for himself. He won’t be driven by money. He wants to find the right fit as he tries to find himself again.
Foran has been a lost soul in recent months and is starting to realise that he wants to play football. The fact he had surgery this week to repair the AC joint in his shoulder is an indication he wants to play. If he was content to miss a year he wouldn’t have taken that step.
There are clubs in Australia that would move heaven and Earth to fit Foran into their roster. There have been ongoing rumours – which have been denied – that the Eels are chasing Adam Reynolds, which would free up a place at Souths. And the Dragons also have big money to spend on a No.7.
Then there is the close relationship Foran has with Bulldogs coach Des Hasler. But the Dogs are heavy in quality halves.
If he is cleared to return to the game, Foran’s progress will again be one of the intriguing stories of 2017.
‘I missed football’: Idris ready for return to NRL
Without saying it’s locked in, it would be good to see Jamal Idris back at the Bulldogs, the club where he first made a name for himself. Idris is looking for a start and the Bulldogs have appeal as a possible home. And Des Hasler is a fan of big bodies in his team. It’s not clear if the club will make a play for him.
It was good to spend some quality time with Idris this week, just a couple of days after he returned from the last part of his journey of self-discovery. He looks fit — trekking in the Himalayas will do that. “I think I’ve shed a bit [of weight] without the stress of life,” he said with a laugh.
He wants to play football again. “After travelling the world I know it’s what I do and I was really surprised, but I missed football,” he said. “I didn’t think that would be the case, but it is.”
Idris, 26, said his expedition was essential for his development.
“I need to feel normal,” he said. “How to have a normal mentality. How to walk down the street without people staring at me. How to drive in a car without someone trying to sneak a picture of me. How to go to a club without someone trying to pick a fight with me just because I play football.
“I got that [normality]. I learnt to be alone with myself; to sit in a room in the dark in Ghana in a power outage and say nothing for two hours. You learn a lot about yourself.”
Sea Eagles fanatic: Nic Naitanui (L). Photo: Getty Images
The Sea Eagle has landed
West Coast Eagles superstar Nic Naitanui was a surprise spectator at the Manly-Canterbury game last week. It turns out he is a big Sea Eagles fan and he wanted to catch the game while in town to take on Greater Western Sydney last Saturday night.
His Manly visit didn’t go that well as the Sea Eagles went down in golden-point extra time and tumbled out of finals contention, but Naitanui turned the tables, booting the winning goal for West Coast with just seconds left against GWS.
Naitanui’s week then took a bad turn on Friday night when he suffered a serious knee injury. Scans on Saturday confirmed he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament.
No 250 for Farah
It passed without notice that Robbie Farah was left out of the Tigers team this week, meaning the final chance for him to reach 250 games during the regular season is gone. The Tigers play their final game at Leichhardt Oval in the last round.
The injury to James Tedesco meant dummy half back-up Jordan Rankin was slotted in at fullback for Friday night’s clash with the Panthers. Still there was no thought from Tigers coach Jason Taylor to bring Farah in for that game or the last three to get him to 250 games. It rammed home the point that Farah is done at the Tigers.
What is hard to comprehend is how he is not even good enough to slot in on the bench. In a side struck by injury, he had to be picked.
There is some thought that even from a marketing point of view, at the very least, there could have been an argument to play Farah in the final game of the season for game No.250. That would have dragged in some significant money for the club.
And this is where it starts to get ridiculous. The Tigers are willing to stump up $600,000 for a rival club to snap up Farah.
That implies they see him as a $300,000-a-season player because his total deal is worth $900,000 a season. There are not too many reserve-grade-quality players earning that kind of coin.
And while playing him in second grade it could be viewed they are further driving his value down, making it harder to get another club to pay the $300,000. The treatment is difficult to fathom.
Big night part I
James Roberts’ big night out was not as bad as it has been made out, if you listen to those close to him. The Brisbane centre claims he was set on by bouncers and choked, but never lost consciousness, as has been claimed. Interestingly, at one point during the day Roberts was drinking with the Brisbane welfare office.
Big night part II
Who was the Queensland rugby league star whose club has covered up his massive night out at a Toowoomba pub? He was hitting on a mother of three and making a goose of himself. Stay tuned.
Sailor to rescue
This column has always been in Wendell Sailor’s corner, even through some very difficult days when he was wiped out of sport.
The former league and union international again showed himself to be a high-quality human when he came across an accident while driving home from his Triple M duties on Thursday night. A woman had been hit by a car. There was a lot of tension and panic at the scene when Sailor arrived. He calmed people down, called a person he knew in the police and used his jacket as a cushion for the woman who was hit.
Good guy: Wendell Sailor during his Wallabies days. Photo: AP
Willis Meehan is making quite an impression in NSW Cup as he awaits a clearance to play for Manly next year. His talent is top level. The Roosters are not thrilled he is gone, but there is a good chance they will pick up Liam Knight from the Eagles, another player with a range of off-field issues but immense talent.
A trip to a Singapore sporting conference by player agent Sam Ayoub has payed dividends, with his clients Johnathan Thurston and Anthony Milford picking up Rexona commercials and endorsements as a result. It seems the company likes Queenslanders. Cooper Cronk has also been signed up.
Danny Weidler is a Nine reporter.