Foran unfazed by NRL Cowboys' challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Foran unfazed by NRL Cowboys' challenge

Ian McCullough 09/09/2011 03:49:00 PM Comments (0)

Kieran Foran insists Manly have nothing to fear when an under-strength Sea Eagles' pack takes on North Queensland's powerful forwards in Saturday's NRL qualifying final at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Kiwi five-eighth returns to the side after a one-match ban for his role in the brawl at Brookvale against Melbourne two weeks ago, along with inspirational fullback Brett Stewart and NSW winger Will Hopoate.

Manly coach Des Hasler said this week he was hopeful Stewart's knee problem has cleared up sufficiently to take his place in the side, but had no hesitations in naming him in his starting line-up on Tuesday.

However, Hasler's side go up against a top-class pack without their two best forwards in Jason King and Glenn Stewart, who are injured and suspended respectively.

But Foran believes the form shown by a depleted Sea Eagles outfit, missing no fewer seven regular starters, in last Sunday's 18-10 loss to Brisbane, gives the team reasons to be cheerful.

"We are quietly confident, we know we are going to have a tough ask, the Cowboys play some pretty good footy and any team with Johnathan Thurston in it is pretty dangerous," Foran said.

"We have been really positive around the place ... we knew we had beaten Melbourne, and played very well in doing so.

"We went to Brisbane without a few players, but we went up there with the belief we could win and almost did against a very strong side.

"Although we lost, the boys took a lot of confidence out of the performance."

Foran admitted his enforced lay-off allows him to go into the game feeling more refreshed than usual, and believes his burgeoning partnership with newly-crowned rookie of the year Daly Cherry-Evans still has room for improvement.

"I feel pretty good, normally after a game by Tuesday I am walking around pretty sore, but I feel good," he said.

"Taking on Thurston will be a big test for me and Daly, he is one of the best players in the world.

"He's also backed up by a great pack and then they have Matt Bowen running off at the back they are pretty dangerous.

"Daly and I played alongside each other in Toyota Cup, and he has come on leaps and bounds, there is still plenty of work to do but we feel we are getting better."

The game will also be an opportunity to taste victory in a finals clash for the first time for Foran, having been on the wrong side of heavy defeats by St George Illawarra and Melbourne in the last two seasons.

Despite that, the 21-year-old is relishing the chance to redress the balance.

"I'm really looking forward to it, I haven't played too much finals footy or been in this position high up the ladder," he said.

"It is going to be a lift in intensity and going to be a great challenge for us and hope we can give it a good shot and give ourselves a week off."

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