Foran will be Luke's foe, then friend - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Foran will be Luke's foe, then friend

By Ben Horne 01/05/2010 10:26:54 AM Comments (0)

Issac Luke knows how important it is for South Sydney to shut down Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran this Sunday.

But in the back of his mind he's planning how he might combine with his countryman for New Zealand in Friday's Test against Australia.

Luke, a near certainty for Kiwi selection at hooker, is in career-best form, and has been the Rabbitohs' most dominant player while Foran's form for Manly has eased the Sea Eagles worries about replacing Matt Orford.

Along with Benji Marshall in the halves and Lance Hohaia likely to be picked at fullback, Luke and Foran will help form the most stable and in-form spine New Zealand has fielded in some time.

Redemption against Australia with Foran by his side is certainly on Luke's brain but this Sunday at ANZ Stadium it's all about getting the job done for Souths.

"I'll have a chat to (Foran) after the game but we've just got to worry about our preparation and what we need to do for the game. All the Kiwi stuff comes after that," Luke said.

"(Our combination) for New Zealand is something we need to work on. I really want to get into this team after last year I got brushed.

"Kieran has been playing awesome actually. He's enjoying his role at half and he's playing great footy."

Luke has an interesting way of initiating the fair-skinned Foran as a proud Maori and New Zealander.

"He may look like white but he's black, just like (Beau) Champion (from Souths). He's white but he's black inside and Kieran, he's a good fella too," quips Luke, with a smile.

Last year Luke was rubbed out of the May Test against Australia after an arguably harsh decision by the NRL judiciary to suspend him.

This season he's desperate to represent his country again, and has been playing like a man possessed for the Rabbitohs.

With Souths' halves John Sutton and Chris Sandow up and down with their form, Luke has provided great leadership to keep the Bunnies in good shape.

"With me and Chris and Sutto being very young, it's something we've been trying to work on as a combination," said Luke, who is this year playing out the full 80 minutes.

"We've got a lot of experienced players in the team ... but we're the ones who have to make the boys go forward so obviously it's basically a leadership role and it's something we can hopefully enjoy and get used to.

"You could say I'm the fittest I've ever been. I've been able to last but in parts of it I sometimes lapse so hopefully it keeps coming together."

The Rabbitohs received a rocket from coach John Lang at halftime of last week's clash after they trailed Canberra 24-6.

Souths escaped with a miraculous victory but know they must play for the full 80 minutes against Manly.

The Bunnies have hinted they will target Manly fullback Ben Farrar but Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler isn't worried.

"Same as every fullback in every team gets targeted," Hasler said.

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