Controversial gambler Eddie Hayson has claimed his friendship probably saved Kieran Foran’s life, in the same breath as revealing he tried to deposit $30,000 into the troubled rugby league star’s betting account.
Speaking at an hour-long press conference in Sydney on Thursday to address claims about his gambling activity and the three NRL matches being probed by a police strike force, Hayson spoke of his support for long-time mate Foran during the troubled former Parramatta captain’s darkest times this year.
The out-of-contract five-eighth, who is being courted by the Warriors and now reportedly Canterbury, endured a horror season that ended early with a shoulder reconstruction and included time in a rehabilitation clinic and an attempt to take his own life.
The pair remained close while Foran was staying on the NSW Central Coast around the time he was granted compassionate leave from the Eels.
But Hayson, who spoke to Foran as recently as Thursday morning, said he was willing to walk away from the friendship if it meant the 26-year-old former Manly star would have a chance to resume his career.
“Kieran went through some really dark times this year, and if I wasn’t in his life this year he probably wouldn’t be alive,” Hayson said.
“I was just there to talk to him.
“I don’t want to talk too much about Kieran today.
“But he’s well on the road to recovery and doing really well now.
“If I need to stay out of his life that’s fine, I’m happy to do that.”
Questions were asked during the press conference about whether Hayson, a professional gambler and former brothel owner, was the best influence on Foran, who has opened up about his own gambling problems.
Hayson conceded it “wasn’t a good look at all” to go to the races with Foran a few months ago.
He also confirmed he attempted to place $30,000 into Foran’s Ladbrokes account for his own use, and said it was not unusual for people to use others’ betting accounts.
Hayson said the deposit was rejected after the corporate bookmaker became aware he was linked to the transaction.
“I put it in there and some alarm bells went so they closed the account,” Hayson said.
“In hindsight I wish I didn’t do it now, but he was injured and not playing football.
“I wasn’t trying to help him out, I was trying to help myself.”
In July Foran said Hayson had been a good mate for about a decade and someone on whom he’d leaned heavily in recent months.
“He is one of my most loyal friends,” Foran said.
“I can’t speak more highly of the bloke.”
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MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.