Fit-again Foran set for Dogs’ opener
STAR Canterbury recruit Kieran Foran is on track to start the season at five-eighth after returning to full-contact training.
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay confirmed Foran had overcome a host of injury concerns, which forced him to spend his first month at the club in rehabilitation.
In a huge boost for the blue and whites, the former New Zealand international completed a series of contact drills prior to the Christmas break.
A fit and firing Foran resumed training on Monday and Pay has sights set on playing the ex-Manly, Parramatta and Warriors playmaker in Canterbury's opening trial against Canberra at the Sunshine Coast on February 17.
"Kieran is going really well," Pay told The Daily Telegraph.
"He did a bit of opposed work before the break and it was good for him to get out there with the boys.
"I think he was over the rehab group and he enjoyed every minute of it. It was good signs, so now we just need to keep progressing with it."
Pay is particularly pleased to see a smile on Foran's face.
The premiership-winning half has privately battled for a number of years now, dating back to 2016 when Parramatta granted him indefinite leave of absence to deal with a range of personal issues.
The 27-year-old had been struggling with a relationship breakdown. He was admitted to St Vincent's hospital after overdosing on prescription medication before being granted leave.
Reports also surfaced that Foran was chasing Manly for $140,000 he was owed in unpaid third party agreements.
After gaining NRL approval, he signed with the Warriors last season and played 17 games before relocating to Sydney to be closer to family.
Pay says Foran looks content being back home and he hopes this enjoyment flows onto the field in 2018.
"I'm really happy for Kieran personally," he said.
"He has had a tough couple of years, but I've said to him from day one we just want to make sure he gets himself fit, healthy and in the best place to play his best footy.
"I want him to get back to really enjoying his footy again. I think that has been missing over the last couple of years and he missed that enjoyment of putting his boots on and playing.
"If you are not enjoying what you are doing then you are not going to perform the best you can."
Meanwhile, Pay expects Canterbury to perform strongly this season on the back of a strong off-season thus far.
The full Bulldogs squad, including former Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods, returned to the pre-season summer slog at Belmore on Monday.
"The players came back in good condition," Pay said. "They worked really hard before Christmas, so we've got a good base.
"They are in good spirits and enjoyed their break, so we are looking forward to keep progressing from here."