Bennett wary of prime Eels’ NRL halves

Parramatta’s Kieran Foran and Corey Norman have been labelled one of the NRL’s prime halves’ combinations by Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett ahead of Thursday’s blockbuster NRL season opener.

Foran, the club’s marquee signing, will be given until the 11th hour to prove he has recovered from a hamstring injury in a bid to make his much-anticipated debut in Eels’ colours.

After the Eels going five seasons without playing finals football, Foran’s signing has sent the hopes of the Parramatta faithful soaring.

The former Manly premiership-winner’s consistency and value are highlighted by the fact that since 2010, he has hit double figures for both try assists and linebreak assists, according to Fox Sports Stats.

The 25-year-old also gives the club an A-list playmaker for the first time since the retirements of Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny in the early 1990s and his combination with Norman shapes as key to his side’s fortunes.

Former Bronco Norman is set for his best season after leading the Eels to the Auckland Nines title and winning the award for player of the tournament.

Bennett heaped praise on the pair and described them as one of the most-dangerous halves’ pairings in the competition.

“They are highly skilled players with a good attitude. They will cause a fair few problems for teams,” Bennett said.

Foran trained with the side for the first time this week during Wednesday captain’s run and would be given up until kickoff to prove his fitness but coach Brad Arthur said he wouldn’t be taking any risks.

“We’re hopeful (he will play) but it’s not the end of the world – it’s round one,” Arthur said.

“He’s going to get through training, we’ll see how he wakes up in the morning and we’ll see how he presents at the game.”

Luke Kelly is on standby to partner Norman in the halves should Foran be pulled from the game.

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