KIERAN FORAN’S CRUEL BLOW
KIERAN Foran could be the third high-profile player whose career may be ended by a shoulder injury in the space of a week after his Kiwi Test return turned into a horror show.
There are serious concerns for Foran’s playing future after he lasted just five minutes in his Kiwi comeback yesterday with his shoulder dislocating as he tried to make a tackle on Great Britain captain James Graham.
Foran made a low tackle on Graham only to instantly clutch at his shoulder during the Kiwis’ 12-8 win.
His injury comes a day after Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett called on the NRL to investigate the spate of shoulder injuries which have led to players’ careers ending prematurely. Brisbane’s Matt Gillett and South Sydney enforcer Sam Burgess retired last week because of chronic issues.
Kiwis coach Michael Maguire was “shattered” for Foran.
“He is one hell of a fella, he put himself back in this arena,” Maguire said. “We will get around Kieran. No doubt he will get back to work and do what he does best which is get himself right. He was in really good shape for this game. We were really excited for him as a group. To see him go down was devastating. We will look after him.”
Foran had a left shoulder reconstruction in 2016 while at the Eels. The injury plagued him for a good 12 months. Now he faces a nervous wait to see if he will need that shoulder operated on again. If he does, there are huge question marks if he will be able to return to play, with his body badly damaged after more than a decade in the top grade.
He is in the final year of a mega $1.2 million dollar contract with the Bulldogs that expires next year. At 29 and with his best football way behind him, Foran could be forced to medically call it quits. He is stranded on 199 top-grade games having returned to decent football at the back end of the season for Canterbury despite missing a large chunk of the campaign with a hamstring injury.
His Test return came after he was a replacement for Shaun Johnson who was axed after the Kiwis’ loss to Australia. Johnson helped comfort Foran in the Kiwi sheds after the injury. Foran returned to the interchange bench with his arm in a sling. The scores were locked at 2-all at half-time before Jamayne Isaako broke the deadline after some Roger Tuivasa-Sheck brilliance in the 48th minute.
After rising to prominence at the Sea Eagles, Foran has struggled with injuries and off-field issues. His high-profile move to Parramatta was a fizzer while he struggled at the Warriors. That did not stop the Bulldogs gifting him one of the richest deals in the NRL ahead of last season where he played just 12 games.
Meanwhile, Maguire dumped hooker Brandon Smith before the match for breaching team protocol. The decision meant Kodi Nikorima was rushed into the side.
New Zealand’s Kieran Foran Foran. Picture: Getty Images