Kieran Foran says Manly’s fine start to the NRL season is down to their unsung band of front-rowers.
Star five-eighth Kieran Foran has showered praise on Manly’s unheralded front-row and claims they’ve played a big role in the Sea Eagles’ fine start to the NRL season.
Manly’s props were seen as their weak point going into the season with Brent Kite and George Rose leaving for Penrith and Melbourne respectively and Richie Fa’aoso being forced into retirement with a serious neck injury.
Coach Geoff Toovey admitted at the start of the season his front-row stocks were a concern, but South Sydney cast-off Josh Starling and Duinamis Lui – who was surplus to requirements at Brisbane – have stepped up to the challenge of partnering key prop Brenton Lawrence at the coalface.
Their job was made even more difficult on Friday against a Sydney Roosters pack that’s arguably the best in the NRL, with skipper Jason King suspended and NSW star Glenn Stewart forced off with concussion in the first half.
However, they stood up to the challenge and played a big part in their side’s 8-0 win to take last year’s grand finalists to a 3-1 record for the season.
“The guys who have come in and done an enormous job for us,” Foran said.
“They don’t really get the headlines, but guys like Jesse Sene-Lefao, Josh Starling and Duinamis Lui, they are just tough.
“Choc (Anthony Watmough) is the leader of that forward pack and he is bringing them on and they are learning from the environment around this club. They are what’s winning us games at the moment.”
Foran’s return from a calf injury was also a major factor in the Sea Eagles’ win with an outstanding display alongside halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans that outshone NSW pair Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney.
Foran was only a late inclusion in the side and despite the heavy pitch at Allianz Stadium due to a week of rain in Sydney, he played the full 80 minutes, helping his side to a memorable win over the premiers.
“I knew on Thursday I could play after I got through the captain’s run,” he said.
“I got a really bad cramp in the other calf during the second half, but luckily it was not the one I hurt.
“But that was a tough win for us. Really gutsy and we had to dig that little bit deeper to win the game.”