Players shouldn’t be subject to a “buy, swap and sell market” says Rugby League Players’ Association president Clint Newton as Robbie Farah’s contract impasse with Wests Tigers nears a conclusion.
Farah is reportedly set to shore up his position on the Tigers roster, with both parties ready to commit to seeing out the NSW hooker’s two-year $1.9 million NRL deal at Concord.
However Newton said on Tuesday the position Farah was thrust into after being urged to look for another club should never be allowed to happen again.
“When you sign a contract from both parties there is that respect and integrity around honouring the deal and there was clearly a breakdown in communication there,” Newton said.
“Players shouldn’t be involved in a buy, swap and sell market and they also shouldn’t be punished for a club’s poorly-managed roster.
“The Tigers have a new CEO, he has a new mandate in place and going on what I have only seen this morning hopefully that has been resolved because it would be in the best interests to make sure.
“You are looking after the player’s overall wellbeing but also the integrity for what a contract is there for. You have to honour it or at least make it known you are trying to help that player further his career in the best possible way.”
Newton said the RLPA has been in regular contact with Farah since news of his falling out with the Tigers broke in late August.
“He certain needs to be commended for his ability to just get on with the job,” Newton said.
“He certainly hasn’t done anything except carry himself with the utmost integrity around that issue.
“I have a lot of respect for Robbie.”
Farah himself asked for a release last week and appeared to be set to join the Sydney Roosters.
However, new Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has managed to smooth the waters with the club expected to announce the Origin hooker’s retention within the next 48 hours, according to a News Corp Australia report.
The backflip comes after the Tigers signed veteran Manly hooker Matt Ballin for 2016-17 and it is sure to place pressure on coach Jason Taylor, who was the public face of the push to oust Farah.
Farah’s retention could also prove significant in the Tigers’ bid to keep promising halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses, who were due to take up a 2017 extension in January but had sought to put off a decision for six months.
The backflip means Farah, 31, will now finish his NRL career as a one-club player before a likely move to UK Super League in 2018.