Foran cleared to return to NRL
KIERAN Foran has finally been cleared to make his NRL comeback for the NZ Warriors in round three of the 2017 premiership.
NRL sources have revealed Foran's return to playing comes with certain conditions relating to his off-field activities, gambling associates and ongoing psychological assessments.
The former Kiwi Test captain and premiership-winning five-eighth at the Sea Eagles will make his return in the Warriors' round-three clash against the Bulldogs in Dunedin on March 17.
The NRL confirmed on Wednesday it has registered Foran's contract with the Warriors.
However, Foran will not be permitted to play until round three and his return is subject to a further psychological assessment to ensure he is in the right frame of mind to play in the NRL.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said they had worked closely over the past four months on a rehabilitation program to help Foran overcome the problems that forced him to drop out of the game last year.
"I have always said that my priority is ensuring Kieran's wellbeing and his football career is secondary," Greenberg said.
"The expert advice we recently received indicates that Kieran's recovery has reached the point where he is physically and mentally fit to return to rugby league.
"Consequently, we have today registered his contract to play with the Warriors in 2017.
"However, we want to be doubly sure that Kieran is in the right state of mind and have therefore decided to defer his return to the NRL until round three so a further psychological assessment can be made.
"Kieran will only be allowed to play again in the NRL if that assessment is positive. Conditions will also be placed on his contract relating to integrity matters following the review of his gambling associations last year."
It has been reported that one of the conditions for Foran to make his return to the NRL is that he must cut all ties with controversial punter Eddie Hayson.
NRL officials had reservations about his ongoing relationship with Hayson, which had been part of the reason for the delay in the former Parramatta Eel being cleared to return.
In the NRL release, Doyle said Foran had made significant progress since joining the Warriors last year and the club continued to provide internal and external support.
"Naturally, we are keen to see Kieran back on the field as soon as possible but we have always shared the NRL's view that the most important thing is to ensure Kieran is mentally and physically ready for the demands of the NRL," Doyle said.
"We have seen Kieran's progress over the last few months and we are confident he will ready for round three.
"Kieran has already become an integral part of the Warriors squad off the field and his teammates will be thrilled to see him back on the field."
Foran said he was delighted that his contract had been registered.
"Naturally I would love to return in round one because I love rugby league and I love being part of the Warriors squad," he said.
"But both the Warriors and NRL have put my welfare first throughout so I am just happy that my contract is registered and I now have a date for my return."
In April last year Foran was rushed to hospital suffering from a drug overdose in an attempt to take his own life.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph last year Foran said he had taken a batch of leftover painkilling medication pills.
"I remember the week vividly," Foran said.
"I had been struggling, I had a lot going on. Trying to work through my relationship breakdown, with two young kids, with my ex-partner, while juggling football. I just wasn't coping. I could see I was starting to lose hope on life, really. I just couldn't see that light at the end of the tunnel. I just remember one late Thursday night it all got too much for me.
"I can't remember the exact amount (of pills I took). It was a handful. I remember getting told the next day by the nurses that it wasn't enough to kill me but definitely enough to make me crook. At the time I was hoping that it was gonna do the job. I'm grateful I'm here today, but I remember waking up the next morning wishing that it had worked."
Leading up to Foran's attempt to take his life was the breakdown of his relationship with the mother of his two children, Rebecca Pope.
"Rebecca is the mother of my two kids and I will always love her for that," he said last year.
"We have been together since we were 19. We wanted to start a young family. Obviously we had the intentions of growing old together and being together for 50-odd years. But we hit some roadblocks. Like all relationships you have your ups and your downs.
"Ours was no different. Going through what I was going through at the time, and what I was suffering from, it made it all that more difficult. We tried to work through our issues but couldn't."