One of Des Hasler's last moves as Manly coach was to make a final, desperate bid to keep Kieran Foran at Brookvale. Hasler was shattered at losing one of his most favoured players and tried every trick he knew to prevent Foran's shift to the Titans.
Even when the veteran five-eighth confirmed he was definitely leaving, Hasler was poring over the Manly salary cap, looking at how he could move a few decibel points here and there to conjure up an 11th hour backflip. Foran is a man of his word and was always going to honour his Titans deal, but Hasler's desperation to keep him underlined just how important a cog he was to the Sea Eagles.
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It was illustrated again on Saturday night as Foran willed his body through 80 minutes of torture to lead Gold Coast to a gutsy win over his old club at rainy 4 Pines Park. The performance goes in the 'it was so ugly, it was beautiful' category. It was something to behold.
Foran looked like an 80-year-old shuffling to the pensioners' Monday lunch special at his local club, hobbling back to the defensive line time and time again while clutching his heavily strapped right knee. At one stage he got himself in front of Sea Eagles wrecking ball Haumole Olakau'atu to prevent a certain try.
It would have been easier stopping the 190 Mona Vale to Wynyard express that runs outside the ground, but from somewhere, somehow Foran found the guts, strength and desire to pull it off instead of being taken off. "I'm a bit banged up. I'm carrying a few niggles but am just trying to get through it week to week…keep turning up and grinding out these wins," he said at full-time.
Not sure if it was a good idea to let Foran go for Schuster
— Nelg Onairpic (@CipNelg23) April 29, 2023
Josh Schuster should take note of Kieran Foran
You just hope that from wherever he was watching, the exiled Josh Schuster was taking this all in. The popular Foran was let go to accommodate Schuster's demand to play five-eighth, much to Hasler's anguish.
The old coach wasn't convinced Schuster was the man for the all-important No.6 job, seeing him more as an edge back-rower. Foran has had an injury-hit start to his career at the Gold Coast, but his value to the club was writ large on Saturday night.
No-one knew that better than his old partner-in-crime, Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans. "He's obviously playing a bit under-done but you can hear him out there," DCE said.
"He's a big voice for them. He's steering them around and playing good footy considering where he is at physically. You expect nothing less from him."
You can have all the ability in the world, but without passion, hunger and commitment to the cause, it means very little. Schuster would do well to take note.
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