Foran relishing new halves freedom
Parramatta's star recruit Kieran Foran may be a week-by-week proposition with a dodgy hamstring but in his time on field so far he is relishing a license to roam granted by coach Brad Arthur.
Foran and Corey Norman linked up right across the field in their final trial match before the season proper, regularly passing to each other at each fringe of the field, and while things weren't quite so dramatic in their first NRL hitout together (in the team's 20-16 win over the Cowboys in Round 2) the pair clearly were not being restricted to playing one half of the field each.
"Brad really encourages that as a coach. He really encourages us halves to swing both sides of the field and play a lot of footy together," Foran told NRL.com this week.
"That's what he wants, that's what he asks us to do each week so it's good – like you said it's refreshing, you're not locked in on either side.
"He likes us roaming and popping up where we can so it's great that he encourages that and I know myself and Normy really enjoy playing that sort of style."
Foran conceded he was locked into one half of the field when playing alongside Daly Cherry-Evans at Manly – a combination that reaped significant rewards, including the 2011 premiership – but said it was refreshing being able to mix it up in his new environment.
"I guess it's just adapting to the new structures and the new shapes. It's enjoyable and something different to what I'm used to," he said.
"I've really enjoyed linking up with Normy, he's a quality player and I hope our combination gets stronger and stronger."
Foran agreed the free-flowing nature of halves play the pair is looking to implement could make the team less predictable in attack.
"It makes it harder for the teams defending you because they don't know which half is going to pop up on either side of the field. It's the way Brad likes to coach, he encourages us to swing either side and I think it suits both of us," he added.
Like his coach, Foran isn't too concerned yet that his lack of quality training time at his new club will hinder the Eels attacking structures throughout the season as he continues to manage his troublesome hamstring.
"The main thing is defensively we've been good and [Arthur] said basically the attack will take time, it's a new team, new combinations and I agree with him 100 per cent," Foran said.
"The main thing is our defence is on and you can win games from your defence and I think as the season goes on you'll start to see the fluency of the attack and the combinations will build the more we play with one another.
"I don't think it's a concern this time of year. As long as you're all on the same page in defence and holding the ball in attack well the plays and all that will come later in the season."
Foran insisted he was in no doubt to face the Bulldogs on Friday night, and praised his third-round opponents' form over the opening two weeks.
"I think they've been super impressive for the first two rounds, they're a monster pack, they always have been, you know what you're going to get from them but they just do it so well," Foran said of the Bulldogs.
"I think it's just trying to stop their momentum through the middle of the field and limit the amount of opportunities you give them on your tryline because they generally make teams pay. It will be a massive challenge for us but I know we're up for it and I'm confident we can get the job done."
He added their halves, Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye, have been brilliant so far this season.
"They've really stood up and taken control of the team and they're both two quality players and guys that have proven themselves so I'm sure they're going to be up for it this weekend," he said.