Hope has not been lost for Kieran Foran to shine for New Zealand at the 2017 World Cup, Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney says.
But Kearney insists Foran’s wellbeing remains the priority after the Parramatta star took an indefinite break from football.
Foran walked away from his $5 million NRL contract with the Eels barely two weeks ago to deal with personal issues.
Kearney still dared to dream of Foran wearing the Kiwi jersey at the late 2017 tournament after the World Cup draw was held in Brisbane on Tuesday.
But Kearney realised Foran had more immediate priorities after the Eels pivot recently spent time in a Brisbane rehab clinic to receive treatment for depression.
“He has a real big challenge ahead of him,” Kearney said.
“He knows he has our support.
“Knowing him if he does commit himself to rugby league again I have no doubt he will get himself back there (Kiwi side).”
Kearney said he had kept in touch with Foran, who has played 20 Tests for New Zealand since 2009.
But he said there was no pressure on the playmaker to turn his attention to league again any time soon as he dealt with his personal struggles.
“At the moment everyone in the rugby league community have to be there to support him and get him through this period,” Kearney said.