Pain-free Foran relishing Kiwis return

Injury-plagued Bulldogs five-eighth Kieran Foran is set to play his 22nd Test for the Kiwis.
Injury-plagued Bulldogs five-eighth Kieran Foran is set to play his 22nd Test for the Kiwis.

Kieran Foran can't remember the last time he was injury-free in October.

Now, not only is he pain-free, but the veteran playmaker is on the cusp of making just his second appearance for New Zealand since 2015.

Foran was left out of the 17-man line-up to face Australia in Wollongong on Friday, however the Canterbury star certainly isn't far away from a Kiwis return.

The world No.3-ranked nation is instead likely to recall their former skipper when they host Great Britain on home soil over the next two weeks.

The 29-year-old was back up on the NSW Central Coast with his family when New Zealand coach Michael Maguire delivered the good news.

"I think the last three seasons, at least, I've had surgeries at the back end of the year. There's been a bit I've had to deal with," Foran told AAP.

"But this time I didn't have any surgeries and I feel really good."

Foran's selection comes a decade after he made his international debut in 2009.

He has since pulled on the black-and-white jumper on 20 occasions, with 19 of them coming prior to their mid-year win over Australia in 2015.

His only New Zealand appearance since then was in 2017, with injuries curtailing the back end of a man once considered one of the game's premier players.

This season with Canterbury was no different, having been limited to just 14 games due to a combination of ankle, hamstring and calf injuries.

Foran, who is set to enter the final year of his deal with at the Bulldogs, said he has become accustomed to people doubting his body.

"It's a frequently asked question. It is what it is. I've had a lot of injuries over my career and that's just part and parcel of it," he said.

"You just gotta keep picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, trying to get the body stronger each time, and make those injuries less and less frequent."

He, too, questioned whether he would ever represent his nation again.

"I suppose I wasn't too sure when I'd get the chance to be back," he said.

"And now to be back, it's an honour and privilege and something you definitely don't take for granted. You've got to cherish it every time."

He also draws inspiration from 34-year-old Benji Marshall, who this week reclaimed the captaincy despite considering retirement the past two years.

"It shows that you just gotta hang in there and keep fighting for what you believe in, and backing your ability," Foran said.

"A guy like him, to come out the other side and now be captaining his country again, it's great for him and great for the game."

Australian Associated Press