The impasse between Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor and hooker Robbie Farah has taken another twist, with the NRL club revealing back-up rake Matt Ballin will not play again this season.
Teammates have confirmed Farah will return to the hooking position on Friday against South Sydney, a week after being rested from the Tigers’ 14-point to the Roosters after the State of Origin opener.
Farah, who was told by Taylor last season to find a new NRL home before the pair seemingly came to an understanding allowing the former Tigers skipper to stay, was reportedly keen to play against the Roosters.
After Sunday’s loss, Taylor refused to guarantee Farah would be picked for Friday night’s clash with South Sydney.
However, teammates insist there is no ongoing feud between the two.
“I don’t know why people keep bringing it up,” halfback Luke Brooks said.
“I think if we won the game on the weekend I don’t think it would have been brought up.
“There’s no feud going on.”
Brooks, five-eighth Mitchell Moses and fullback James Tedesco maintained there had been no change in Farah’s character around the group after being told he wouldn’t turn out against the Roosters.
But Moses said it was not for him or other players to discuss whether the decision to rest Farah was the correct one.
“That was up to JT completely,” Moses said.
“Whatever he thinks goes, he’s the coach. If it was the wrong decision it was the wrong decision but that’s what happens.
“He’ll be back this week and he’ll be ready.”
Much pre-season chat centred on how Taylor would fit Ballin and Farah into the one side, given the former was bought at the time the former Tigers captain appeared to be headed out the door.
However, given Ballin didn’t return from a knee operation until round 11 – when Farah was out with concussion – and injured himself in a pre-Origin round, Taylor was not forced to make a call.
That will be put off to next season when the Tigers remain hopeful Ballin will be fit to take the field again.
Ballin, who will be 33 in January, will have played just the two NRL games since the original injury but the Tigers say the two blows are unrelated.
“He worked his backside off to get back from the original knee,” Moses said.
“But he’ll be right, he’ll be ready for next year.”