Warriors' finals charge personal to Foran
Five-eighth Kieran Foran has vowed not to let one of the best rosters in the Telstra Premiership go to waste by ensuring that his one and only season as a Warrior is one that fans will want to remember.
In Foran's absence the Warriors recorded their third win in their past four matches against the Bulldogs last Friday and are now preparing to face the in-form Sea Eagles in Perth sitting just two points outside the Telstra Premiership top eight.
A quadriceps injury that he sustained in Round 14 is not expected to stop Foran from lining up against his former team who have moved into fourth position on the back of four straight wins, their latest a convincing victory over defending premiers Cronulla.
The Warriors have featured in eight matches in Perth since 1996 and have incredibly never recorded a win despite enjoying a healthy proportion of the local support.
Foran's likely return will help to somewhat offset the loss of hooker Issac Luke who suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Bulldogs with the Kiwi five-eighth determined to continue the progress the team has made in the last month.
Having issued Foran a career lifeline when personal issues forced him to stand down from playing with the Eels last year, the Warriors were devastated when it was announced the 26-year-old would be joining the Bulldogs in 2018 but he insists that he wants to leave on a good note.
"Every year you want to do well but this year means a lot to me personally," Foran told NRL.com.
"The Warriors reached out to me when I was in a struggling time in my life and it means a lot for me to be able to play some of my best footy and really give back to the fans and the club.
"They've been great to me over in New Zealand. The people of New Zealand have really supported me."
Besides last year when the Titans squeezed into September football with 27 points, 28 has been the magic number for teams to qualify for the top eight, leaving the Warriors the task of winning at least five of their last nine games to play finals for the first time since 2011 when Foran's Sea Eagles defeated them in the grand final.
Only four of those nine matches are against teams currently in the top eight but sneaking into the top eight with the strength of their roster is not enough according to Foran.
In 10 games this season the Warriors have run out with the New Zealand spine from the mid-year Test and been victorious five times and Foran knows they can't let the opportunity available to them slip through their fingers.
"It doesn't guarantee that you're going to be successful just because you've got a great roster but it certainly helps having the quality of players that we do have," Foran admitted.
"It's just about as a team putting in those 80-minute performances.
"It's been a little bit frustrating, not being able to find that consistency week in, week out because we know we're a better football team than what we've showed.
"If we get it right and we do put together an 80-minute performance we can win games of footy.
"We believe that we can achieve something this year and we're going to leave no stone unturned to try and do that.
"We've got to keep winning. If we want to make something of this year we've got to keep getting the two points. It's not going to get any easier but the belief is strong.
"As a club we want to make sure we can give this thing a really good crack this year.
"Obviously that's something for me personally that would be great to have a successful year but I just think as a team and the big picture, we really want to try and do something this year."
Whilst Warriors teams of the past have been guilty of allowing mistakes to overshadow talent, the 2017 squad under Stephen Kearney boast the best completion rate (78.95 per cent) in the competition through 16 rounds.
Yet Friday's win over the Bulldogs was just the second time this year they have won back-to-back games, Foran admitting their failings have been difficult to pinpoint.
"It's not that we make errors and put ourselves under pressure because our completion rates have been superb all year," said Foran.
"Normally when you're putting yourself under pressure and you're letting tries in it's because you're making errors and not completing but we've been doing that.
"That's been the hard thing for us, pinpointing what causes those lapses. I think at times we just switch off and don't keep our minds on the job and we leak one try and another try follows and before you know it you've let in two or three tries just because one or two of us have switched off.
"That's the key for us moving forward, being stronger in those tough moments but for the full 80 minutes."