“His pain tolerance is through the roof. He just deals with it. He did a lot of rehab like we all do, but he’s definitely a competitor. At the same stage of recovery I was basically learning how to walk again.”
Canterbury coach Dean Pay was one of the toughest to play the game, but even he would concede Foran is in a league of his own when it comes to pain.
Pay knows Canterbury are in with a serious shot of causing a boilover at Belmore on Sunday afternoon against Melbourne if Foran can produce what he did against the Titans.
Foran was sidelined for the second half of last year with injury and plenty of Dogs supporters were keen to see him moved on because of the amount of money he was chewing up in their tight cap.
The 28-year-old has never shied away from the criticism – but also never doubted his ability to return to his best, which made him one of the few million-dollar players in the game.
Titans counterpart Ash Taylor and St George Illawarra’s Ben Hunt are paid similar money, but fans would take Foran based on the past fortnight.
“I want to produce performances like that for this club week in, week out,” Foran said on Tuesday. “It’s been a tough couple of years, no doubt, both physically and mentally.
“It’s been frustrating being out on the sidelines and not finding any rhythm the last couple of seasons. There’s nothing worse than being injured and not out there to put in with the lads. Hopefully I can continue to do that.”
Not only is Foran smiling, he is happy to be entertaining the idea of a return to the New Zealand team after a two-year Test hiatus.
Shaun Johnson is overcoming a hamstring injury while the other Kiwis halves incumbent, Kodi Nikorima, has quickly adjusted to life as a New Zealand Warrior. A fit Foran, Nikorima and Johnson is a good headache for coach Michael Maguire to have.
“I definitely haven’t ruled myself out of that [New Zealand selection],” Foran said. “It’s been a couple of years since I last wore the [Kiwis] jersey because of the injuries, and form-wise I haven’t been playing anywhere near good enough.
“It’s something I always strive to play in. I love nothing more than representing New Zealand and it’s something I’m passionate about. If I’m playing well enough and my form warrants it, I’m always open to it.”
Canterbury back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera quickly understood why Foran demanded the big bucks and said of his fellow Kiwi: “It’s just his presence. His effort on the kick chase, and his toughness to put his body on the line. He knows he’ll have to open his ribs up from time to time. Foz is the one I really look forward to playing with.”
The Bulldogs enjoyed a change of scenery at the NSW Rugby League’s new Homebush base on Tuesday, which also allowed the Belmore playing surface to be in top condition for this weekend.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.