KIERAN FO­RAN’S CRUEL BLOW

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - EDEN PARK

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

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