Canterbury Bulldogs star Kieran Foran typifies brave new world at Belmore


He quit rugby league mid-season in 2016, walking out on the Eels.

The Warriors helped him off the canvas in 2017 before he moved back to Sydney to be closer to his kids, signing with the Bulldogs for 2018. A toe injury ended his season after 14 matches.

At only 28, injuries have derailed his career. In the off-season he married his new partner and worked his backside off at Belmore, getting fit and setting his sights on season 2019 being one of true redemption.

Brave performance: Kieran Foran played most of Sunday’s match on one leg.Credit:NRL Photos

Reports were that he was firing in the pre-season. Then we saw it for real in his trial form. In round two, we saw it in the first half against the Eels, then for the full game against Wests Tigers last week.

As the Dogs registered their first win for the year, a fit Foran was in the thick of it. As he scored in the first half, he injured an ankle and limped through the rest of the match.

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On Monday at recovery at Belmore, Foran came out of the team rooms to get some ice and had a jovial chat with the journalists present. He was smiling, saying his ankle just needed some ice and rest to be “sweet” to take on the Storm on Sunday.

He couldn’t have been more polite or happy. The Dogs had had a win. He played well. Onwards and upwards with many of his troubles behind him.

When he was battling his demons, Foran would never have left the sanctuary of the team rooms while journalists were present. He wouldn’t make eye contact. He was wary; lacked confidence. He wondered what you were thinking about him. Who was out to get him?

But Foran is healing and realises now he can be himself. It’s great to see.

Less is Belmore: Former Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.

Less is Belmore: Former Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.Credit:AAP

One thing is certain: he had absolutely no idea his ankle injury was so serious it needed surgery and three months off. It was simply a rolled ankle to him. He had played 60 minutes with it.

It’s such a shame.

A fit Foran is crucial to the Bulldogs under Dean Pay.

Many have questioned the coach receiving a contract extension through to the end of 2020. It’s all about stability, and a return to being the “family club”.

It’s working.

Under Des Hasler, the club became the polar opposite. It was a dark place where there was no light. Suspicion and a mistrust of anyone and anything reigned supreme.

You never felt welcome there.

They might have a team struggling on the park, but the ship is turning at Belmore. Last week, NRL debutant Jayden Okunbor and club debutant Nick Meaney were put up for interview.

The media almost fell over. In recent times, it was unheard of for the club to be so open.

Which is why the Foran injury is so disappointing. They need him on the field driving results while things are happening off the field at Belmore.

They may well get hammered on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne, but eventually the family club will claw its way back.

As long as it leaves the light on.

Will we ever see her likes again?: Hugh Bowman and Winx soak up the adulation of the crowd on Golden Slipper day at Rosehill.

Will we ever see her likes again?: Hugh Bowman and Winx soak up the adulation of the crowd on Golden Slipper day at Rosehill.Credit:AAP

Winx will prove why she’s simply the best

Winx’s career will end with a celebration at Royal Randwick next Saturday; a farewell like we’ve never seen before.

There have been two similar farewells in the same race, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which were massive in their own right. The mighty Octagonal retired in this race in 1997 and his even mightier son Lonhro did the same in 2004.

Both raced in the famous cerise colours of their owners, the Ingham brothers. There was pink sky-writing, pink donuts, pink flags.

Stunningly, they were both beaten. Octagonal lost to the three-year-old Intergaze and Gai Waterhouse produced a knockout blow with Grand Armee holding off Lonhro.

The losses were unfathomable. Randwick was heaving with racegoers only wanting one result.

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As they returned to scale after the Octagonal loss, John Letts was interviewing the rider of Intergaze, Craig Carmody, live on TV when jokester Greg Hall rode past and summed up the mood.

“Good onya Craig,’’ Hall called out, clearly audible in the lounge rooms of Australia. “You f—ed it for everyone.”

One thing is for sure: no horse or jockey will do that next Saturday. And that’s the difference between Winx and the great champions who went before her, such as Octagonal, Lonhro, Kingston Town, Makybe Diva, Tulloch and Phar Lap.

Black Caviar aside, they all got beaten on their bad days. Since Winx worked the caper out as a three-year-old filly, she hasn’t been beaten – simply because they cannot beat her.

It’s extraordinary and it ends in six days’ time.

Get to Randwick. You’ll never forget it.

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