Kieran Foran will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for Thursday’s NRL season-opener, but Parramatta coach Brad Arthur insists he won’t take any risks with the new Eels skipper.
The New Zealand Test five-eighth trained with the side for the first time this week in Wednesday’s captain’s run, with the man hailed as the Parramatta’s most significant signing in recent memory struggling to overcome a hamstring issue.
Eels fans have been counting down the days to see the former Manly premiership-winner don the blue and gold, though Arthur will not force the issue ahead of Thursday night’s clash against Brisbane.
“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 Corey Norman in the halves should Foran be pulled from the game.
Meanwhile, Arthur says an impending call on Anthony Watmough’s retirement rests squarely with the former representative back-rower.
The club has denied rumours it is trying to force Watmough to hang up the boots as he struggles to return to the training paddock following knee surgery.
Watmough went under the knife in the off-season to repair his medial ligament and suffered a setback during a training mishap three weeks ago.
With three years left to run on his contract, it is believed the club is worried the 32-year-old will not be able to return to first grade.
“He still hasn’t been able to get on the training paddock yet. He picked up a new injury a couple of weeks ago and we’ve given him some time off his legs,” Arthur said.
“We’ll see how he goes in a couple of weeks but the plan is to get him back out there.
“(Retirement) is Choc’s call. At this stage he’s trying to get out there.”