Kieran Foran has revealed that a desire to repay Canterbury for his horror injury run drove his latest comeback from a shoulder reconstruction.
Foran will make a timely return for the winless Bulldogs when they face fellow battlers St George Illawarra in Monday’s annual Queen’s Birthday NRL clash.
It will be Foran’s first match since dislocating his shoulder just minutes into his return to the international arena with New Zealand last year.
The injury came after a syndesmosis problem ruled him out of half his 2019 campaign, which followed a season decimated by a toe issue.
The Dragons match marks the 200th game of Foran’s career.
“I’ve been through a few difficult periods in my career and each and every time I’ve built more and more resilience through those periods,” Foran said on Thursday.
“With this latest one, it was about wanting to get back and give back to the Dogs.
“I feel really bad that I’ve had this horrible injury run over the last few years. It’s something that’s weighed heavily on mind, (but) it’s been out of my control.”
Should Foran go close to re-capturing his best form, it could change the trajectory of not only his career, but the entire club.
The Bulldogs’ winless start to the year has placed immense pressure on coach Dean Pay, who, like Foran, is off-contract at the end of the year.
But both could be rewarded with new deals should the club rise up the ladder.
Foran said the onus is on the players to turn around their form and remove speculation on the future of their head coach.
“Coaches can only do so much. They give you the game plan. They improve your game as individuals and as a side,” Foran said.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the players to turn up and perform at a high level and execute. That’s not Dean’s responsibility. He does all his work mid-week.
“The responsibility falls on our shoulders to make sure we’re up for it on the day and there should be no excuses for that.”
Foran admitted being concerned about his long-term future when the coronavirus shutdown sparked fears the game wouldn’t be back on until 2021.
Now, with a fresh haircut and trimmed-down beard, he has a chance to put his wretched run behind him and earn a new deal.
“When I did my shoulder, with how bad it was, I was banking on only coming back for the last 5-10 rounds,” Foran said.
“That was a bit of a scary thought when you consider the fact that I’m in the last year of my contract.
“But with the way it’s worked out, it gives me plenty of time to play footy and hopefully find some form, and be out there each and every week with the guys.”