Foran ‘hasn’t clocked out yet’
Coach Steve Kearney has defended Kieran Foran against accusations he isn’t 100 per cent focused on the Warriors.
Former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott said this week he didn’t think Foran had played well recently because he was already thinking about the Bulldogs, who he will join next year.
However, Kearney was not impressed with the implication.
‘‘There’s been stages where everyone hasn’t been at their best and to single out Kieran is pretty ordinary,’’ he said.
‘‘Has he been at his best? Absolutely not. But he’s not by himself there, so I don’t think he’s clocked out early.
‘‘He did some OK things early in the contest and I’m not going to be really critical because it’s a team performance. My expectation is you will see a better performance this week.’’
While Foran was only in his second game back from a quad injury, the Kiwis playmaker had an uncharacteristically quiet performance during last week’s game against the Panthers as the Warriors slumped to their second straight defeat.
It was by no means a terrible display but he failed to take control when halves partner Shaun Johnson left the field with a knee injury.
With Johnson ruled out for six to eight weeks, much of the burden will fall on Foran to step up in his absence.
But Johnson, who has been replaced by reserve grade halfback Mason Lino for Saturday’s crunch clash against the Cowboys, believed that was unfair on his team-mate and praised Foran for the work that goes unnoticed by the public.
‘‘Foz will continue to do what he’s been doing,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘He’s the voice of our team and he does a terrific job at getting boys into position. He’s been doing a great job and we just need him to keep building on his performance.’’
Once again Kearney was forced to address individual lapses that cost the Warriors victory and has left them in a virtual must-win situation heading into Saturday’s daunting trip to Townsville.
It’s been a similar story following most defeats this year but Kearney insisted his patience was not wearing thin.
Yet while he has to be prepared to give some leeway to the inexperienced players, time is clearly running out for the message to sink in.
‘‘In the toughest environment there is, when you do makes mistakes you pay a pretty hefty price and that’s the reason why I’ll keep showing them and giving them the information and keep demanding that’s what’s expected of them,’’ Kearney said.
‘‘If it doesn’t sink in then I’ll have to make a couple of decisions but my job is to make sure that I continue to help them get better.’’