Parramatta will shift focus to on-field matters on Friday as the NRL club continues to deal with captain Kieran Foran’s indefinite leave of absence.
The Eels release a statement on Thursday night revealing Foran had been granted leave after reportedly being hospitalised to deal with personal matters following a split from his long-time partner.
It continues what has been a turbulent 2016 campaign for the Eels, who despite encouraging form on the field, have lurched from one crisis to another – the biggest being the ongoing threat of losing competition points as a result of an alleged salary cap breach.
Now the Eels have to find a new playmaker, with logical stand-in Luke Kelly unavailable after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament three weeks ago in the NSW Cup.
It’s likely to leave Mitch Cornish – with just 15 games of NRL experience as an in-again, out-again half at Canberra in 2014 and 2015 – to steer the ship alongside Corey Norman for Friday night’s match against Canterbury.
While there has been no indication as to how long Foran will be absent from football, he is set to miss New Zealand’s Test against Australia next week, where he was almost certain to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves.
“The Parramatta Eels have granted Kieran Foran an indefinite leave of absence to seek the best possible medical treatment regarding a personal matter,” the Eels said in a statement on Thursday night.
“The club will be making no further comment and request that the media respect Kieran’s privacy at this time.”
Foran’s long-time partner Rebecca Pope’s Instagram account now titles her as a “single mummy to Jordan & Emerson”.
In a recent post on the social media site, she alluded to the fact the pair had split three weeks after 10-week-old Jordan’s birth.
Foran has also been involved in legal action with former club Manly, where he is reportedly seeking to recover almost $150,000 in third-party payments.