Foran pushing for playmaker's return

CANTERBURY'S Kieran Foran has backed the return of club favourite Josh Reynolds to Belmore with a decision on the Wests Tigers playmaker's future expected in the coming days.

Foran, who on Friday confirmed his readiness for a Round 3 return after a shoulder reconstruction in November last year, could be lining up alongside Reynolds in the halves if a deal can be struck between the Tigers and the Bulldogs.

"Josh has been a great player for a long period of time. He had a great time here at Canterbury and, if look, he wants to come back here, he would be a tremendous acquisition to the spine and could offer this team a hell of a lot," Foran said.

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"As far as I'm concerned I'm not too sure where it's at, that's not my job to make those decisions but like I said he would be a welcome acquisition and has been a wonderful player for a long period of time."

 

Reynolds, who is contracted with the Tigers until the end of 2021, is on Bulldogs coach Dean Pay's radar but any release hinges on both clubs agreeing to financial terms.

It's understood after productive talks with Reynolds' management, the Tigers are preparing to table the Bulldogs an offer in the coming days.

One of the club's newest recruits, Dean Britt, the son of Canterbury legend Darren Britt, grew up supporting the Bulldogs and wants to see Reynolds back in the Blue and White.

"I was a big fan of Josh growing up, it would be good to have him in our team and to play outside him but I'm not sure what's happening. He obviously has a few friends here and he's a hero at the Dogs, so if he did come here it would be great," Britt said.

Josh Reynolds could be set for a return to Belmore for the return of the 2020 season. Picture: AAP.
Josh Reynolds could be set for a return to Belmore for the return of the 2020 season. Picture: AAP.

Since joining Canterbury on a lucrative three-year deal from 2018, Foran has suffered a string of serious injuries which have reduced him to 26 games in two seasons.

But the playmaker said he now feels as fit as he has been in "three or four years".

"I'm feeling positive and confident about my body and being able to hold up but be able to perform again at the high level I want to be at," Foran said.

The Kiwi international confirmed he had started his all important contact training needed to test the sturdiness of his shoulder before Pay can confidently name him for round three.

"I'm into full training this week and doing everything the other players have been doing so far. We've had a couple of contact sessions already that I have participated in and another big one tomorrow (Friday)," Foran said.

If Foran does run out in round three he will have at least 18 rounds to prove his worth as playmaker and earn a contract beyond this year.

"[I want] to give back to Canterbury. I have a lot of lost time to make up for, it's been a really difficult couple of years for myself here," he said.

DOGS OF WAR: TRAINING HEATS UP WITH RESERVE GRADE CANCELLED

The cancellation of reserve grade has evoked memories of the 'Dogs of War' at Belmore with competition for starting spots at Canterbury spilling over into 'heated' contact sessions.

Forward Dean Britt has revealed big boppers like Dylan Napa, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Jesse Sue have been belting each other as the scraping of Canterbury Cup has sparked a fierce rivalry among the forwards for places in coach Dean Pay's top 17.

"We all know there are a few spots up for grabs … it got heated there one session but we all came together after the session and we spoke about it, it's good to have competition and it's good to see how much it means to everyone that we all want to be out on the field," Britt said.

Competition for spots at the Bulldogs is fierce says young gun Dean Britt.
Competition for spots at the Bulldogs is fierce says young gun Dean Britt.

"Ray [Faitala-Mariner] he's always going hard at training, he's a hard man to tackle. Jesse Sue is another that's hard to tackle, Renouf To'omaga, Dylan Napa, all of them. It was physical, we wanted to score, they wanted to score … and we didn't want to let them score."

Britt is expecting these 'heated' and 'physical sessions' to become the new normal.

"We've already seen it [the guys step up], it has been pretty full on with the contact, especially in the forwards there because everyone knows there are a few spots up for grabs so I think everyone is doing their best to compete at training and show Deano [Pay] they are capable if he chooses to put them in the team."

Britt is one of a handful of players including Faitala-Mariner and To'omaga who are vying for the second-row left edge spot vacated when Joe Stimson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in round two.

"I'd love to play on the edge, I played a bit of edge in reserve grade over the last few years and last year. I'm hopeful to get that spot if Deano chooses to go that way but I know there are a few other players who want that edge spot. But if he did choose me I'd be stoked," he said.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner has been going hard at training to fight for a starting backrow spot. Picture: AAP.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner has been going hard at training to fight for a starting backrow spot. Picture: AAP.

Playmaker Kieran Foran got through the physical session unscathed. The Kiwi international, who is returning from a shoulder injury suffered in November, has been leaving no stone unturned to be ready for round three.

As well as the contact sessions, Foran has been testing his shoulder out on the wrestling mat.

"He's going really well, he looked confident and he looked strong [in training]. He even had his wrestling shoes on the other day on the mat and I think that was the first time he had done that in a couple of years," Britt revealed.

That rivalry and competition for places could very well be the thing that saves Pay's career at the Bulldogs, especially if it translates into results on the field.

Foran knows Pay, who is off contract at the end of 2020, needs him and his teammates to turn around their winless start to the season.

"We all love Deano [Pay] here, he wears his heart on his sleeve and puts in so much time and effort not only in the football team but the culture of the club. This club means so much for him and all us boys want to make sure we don't let him down, that we turn up and play to the best of our ability," Foran said.



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