Robbie Farah’s chances of reclaiming a spot in West Tigers’ NRL team this week suffered a blow when he missed Wednesday’s training with a calf injury.
The out-of-favour hooker, who was named in NSW Cup for the second week in a row on Tuesday, was a noticeable absentee from the club’s extended session but is expected to be available.
“I spoke to him this morning. He’s in high spirits and he’s looking forward to playing this weekend. That’s as far as I know,” said teammate Jordan Rankin after training.
Rankin was Farah’s surprise replacement as back-up hooker in the Tigers’ last-start NRL win over St George Illawarra, spelling starting hooker Dene Halatau with a 20-minute cameo.
A fullback or winger by trade, Rankin said his instructions from coach Jason Taylor were clear.
“Obviously it’s a new thing thrust upon me last weekend during the game,” he said.
“It was just do whatever the halves wanted, and I just gave it to them.
“It’s pretty plain and simple for me.”
Rankin said he didn’t know about his new role until during the game.
“It was always a matter of how Dene was going to handle playing the full 80 minutes, knowing we didn’t have a hooker on the bench and (prop) Joel Edwards playing as well,” he said.
“There was a stage there where it just happened that I had to come out and fill the role for a bit so (Halatau) could get a breather.
“Getting the win, I thought it was not bad.”
Rankin, 24, also weighed into the Taylor-Farah saga, hitting out at critics of the former club captain for claiming he wasn’t giving the team’s young halves enough opportunities in attack.
“The stories about Robbie not giving them enough ball, to me it seems like a beat-up,” he said.
“There’s no reason why Robbie can’t come back and play for us this year, and there’s no reason why those boys can’t dominate with him there.”
Back-up centre Chance Peni failed to finish the session after collapsing with what seemed like a serious knee injury.