Fantastic or a fail, that’s what all NRL punters will say at the conclusion of the 2021 season with another prodigal son returning to the Northern Beaches on a 1-year deal!
Foran played 147 outstanding games for Manly from 2009-2015. Across the 7 seasons, he was hardly ever injured and formed arguably the best halves combo of the NRL era with DCE.
2011 they won the comp before losing a nail biter in 2013 to the Roosters. Manly dominated the next season until the underrated Matt Ballin broke his leg and they proceeded to lose the final two games before a straight sets exit from the finals after finishing 2nd. 2015 civil war erupted at the club and Foran signed a rich deal with arch rivals Parramatta, and both his and Manly’s stocked plummeted.
9 games at the Eels and he stepped away for personal reasons, out of the Sydney bubble he had a year with the Warriors before former mentor Des Hasler opened the cheque book for Foran to link up with the Doggies. At Belmore he showed he was an elite half, the problem was getting on the field. 39 matches from a possible 68 does not have the same durability as his 7 years at Manly. Player of the Year for Canterbury in 2020 shows he’s still got it though.
The questions for Manly in 2021 is, will his body hold up? They already have one superstar who’s been cursed by injuries the past two seasons. The rumour is he’ll play hooker - a position he’s never played in 212 NRL games and his 30 year old body will need to do 40 odd tackles a week.
Manly have depth at 6 too. Dylan Walker had a good 2019 but his best position is centre, Cade Cust always looks threatening when given game time, while Josh Schuster had the best debut Benji Marshall had ever seen before limping off injured. I’ve followed his progress through the junior grades at Manly and he’s a special talent. A 200+ game player with size and skill he’s been a centre and 2nd rower, but it’s five-eight where his future lies.
Fingers crossed both him and Cust stay long term and learn from one of the best. Schuster 6, Cust 9 and Foran at 14 could be one way to make it all work. I’m sure mad scientist Des has a plan.
I wish Kieran Foran the best of luck with his body in 2021, and I’m sure Manly will benefit from his presence, I just hope it’s not to the detriment of Schuster or Cust leaving.
Good to have you back Foz.