SAM ACKERMAN: Kieran Foran can lead the Warriors to the NRL finals, but he can't do it alone

16/02/2017
Can one man change an entire team's fortunes? That certainly seems to be the expectations on Kieran Foran's shoulders. I'm not so sure.

Foran is the best Kiwi number six I've seen in my 25 years as a league fan. The news that the NRL has officially registered his Warriors contract is huge. It provides the Warriors with a proven match-winner and one of the best on-field generals in the NRL.

But are we expecting Foran to do to the Warriors what LeBron James did for the Caveliers in the NBA? Even King James took a couple of seasons before he delivered that team to the promised land.

That said - it has been done before. The Roosters were floundering in 2012 - finishing 13th. Enter Sonny Bill Williams, sensationally returning from rugby. A breakout season from the talented code-hopper propelled the Chooks to Premiership glory.

All hail SBW.

But that doesn't tell the whole story - James Maloney arrived from the Warriors, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck played his first full season of first grade and the likes of Sam Moa and Michael Jennings also came to help new coach Trent Robinson rebuild the team's culture.

So Foran can be the spark - but everyone else needs to lift their game in a big way.

The pressure will be off Shaun Johnson to marshal the troops and allow him to focus on what he does best. If Johnson can pick and choose the right times to be involved like he does at international level with Foran, rather than take it all on his shoulders, then look out.

No half, no matter how good they are, will be a game changer if their forwards don't aim up. The Warriors pack have not delivered the right platform for too long now. Can a completely unchanged forward roster turn things around on the field? It's going to take some big steps forward.

As for the now or never forecasters - who says Foran is leaving after one year? A single season deal would have been the easiest to get registered by the NRL, and showed a true commitment to putting

Foran's wellbeing first. If he's happy - and healthy - here in Auckland, do you think he'd want to jeopardise that?

Yep, there are other factors in play like family, money and salary cap. But Foran won't be able to walk away from the club, coach and managing director that offered him a lifeline when he needed it most.

The Warriors are a much better side with Kieran Foran in it - but don't for a second believe he can do it on his own.

The spotlight will be on him, but it should also be on the 16 other players to deliver.