Smiling Foran a welcome sight
Teammates said there was no hiding the grin on Kieran Foran's face as he walked into Warriors HQ for training on Thursday morning following Wednesday's announcement that the star playmaker's contract had been registered by the NRL.
While Foran won't be able to return until Round 3 of the NRL Telstra Premiership season, and still has to pass some further psychological assessment, it was the news that both he and the club had been hoping for since the Kiwi international signed with the Warriors in September last year.
Prop Jacob Lillyman said it was clear to see how much the news meant to Foran.
"All the boys were really happy for him, we all got around him and he has got the big smile on the face," Lillyman said.
"Obviously [he is] relieved now that he has got a date in mind, he has been champing at the bit, young 'Foz'.
"He really wants to get out there, he is really keen and he is going to bring an awful lot to the footy side.
"He has got a little bit of work to do in terms of getting his shoulder right, but now that he has got that date in mind he can really rip in.
"It's been a real battle for him, but he has definitely climbed back out the other side and has got the smile on the face and is good for a laugh."
Having played with Foran for a number of years as part of the Kiwis, hooker Issac Luke said it was nice to see Foran returning to his usual self on and off the field.
"He is pretty witty today actually," Luke said.
"All he does is laugh at how all the 'freshies' talk... he is on his way.
"He has got that boost of confidence now and he is just worried about helping the guys get ready for this weekend."
Meanwhile coach Stephen Kearney reflected on the journey Foran has been on since suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in May last year, and subsequent off-field issues which threatened to derail his career.
"To be quite honest eight months ago he was a million miles away from playing, so for me it's not about Round 1, Round 3, whatever it is, it's about Kieran being in a position where he is able to play a game he has played [since he was a kid], for me that's the important part," Kearney said.
"I remember meeting with him at the back end of last season... it hasn't been an easy journey and it won't be an easy journey moving forward.
"I'm really pleased for Kieran, I am really pleased for our members and our fans, they will get the opportunity to see him in Round 3.
"I have no doubt that will be a big part of the next phase of his recovery, no doubt it will be important for him."