Unwanted Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah could be forced to choose between his beloved State of Origin jumper or a lucrative deal in Super League as ponders the next move in his rugby league career.
Despite having two years remaining on his deal, the 31-year-old Farah was given an ultimatum by the club on Tuesday: Find somewhere else to play or play reserve grade.
Asked whether there was a chance he could remain at Concord, Farah said: “Possibly, but you might have to come watch me at Henson Park. I’ve been told if I stay, I will be playing reserve grade.”
The longest-serving West Tiger was just as disappointed in the timing of the decision, particularly since most NRL clubs have already filled their salary cap for the 2016 season, making a move to the UK a genuine possibility.
Farah’s manager Sam Ayoub admitted he had already been approached by a number of clubs in the UK but said his client’s No.1 priority would be to stay in the NRL.
“At this stage, Robbie’s set on staying in the NRL and so he should be,” Ayoub told AAP.
“(Super League) is real, and we have been approached. But it doesn’t mean it will happen at all.
“When you get approached by somebody, it doesn’t mean you go in there.
“You have to consider anything, if you get offered jobs – it doesn’t mean you have to take them.”
South Sydney have been already mentioned as a possible suitor, given Issac Luke’s departure from the Rabbitohs, as well as Farah’s brother Eddie working with the club’s medical staff.
However, it is understood the defending premiers are happy with the development of Cameron McInnes.
“South Sydney is a great club, great history – they’re premiers at the moment; a massive club with a great roster,” Farah said.
“I won’t rule anything out at the moment, but it’s disrespectful for me to be talking about other clubs at the moment while I’m wearing the Wests Tigers’ colours.”
Another club with money is Gold Coast, however coach Neil Henry has shot down any interest in signing the NSW Origin rake after signing Nathan Friend from the Warriors.
“No, there’s not,” Henry told AAP when asked if the Titans had any interest in the 31-year-old.
“We’ll have three hookers there with Friendy coming.”
The late-season bombshell is just another blow in a nightmare season for the joint venture club, who are set to be handed their first wooden spoon in their short history.
The Tigers sit in last place and face the Warriors at Campbelltown on Sunday before finishing the year against St George-Illawarra at ANZ Stadium.
Farah said he was most upset about not being able to farewell Tigers fans at his cherished Leichhardt Oval one last time.
“I love that place so much. Not to have one last game there and a farewell to the fans is a dagger in my heart. That’s what probably hurt me a lot,” he said.
“But it is what it is. I’m not the first person – I won’t be the last. I’ve just got to get on with it.”
Farah has played 236 games in 13 seasons since making his debut in 2003.
He has also has 13 Origin games for NSW, eight Tests for Australia and twice been named Dally M hooker of the year.