NSW coach Laurie Daley has thrown his support behind Robbie Farah and insists the new South Sydney recruit is still his first-choice hooker.
However, Daley admits Blues vice-captain wasn’t at his best in this year’s series loss to Queensland, and will have to prove his worth at the Rabbitohs in 2017.
Two years after being told he could leave the Wests Tigers, Farah finally cut ties with after the joint-venture last month and Daley hopes the move will breathe new life into the veteran rake.
“It’s been extremely difficult for him over the last two years because he’s been an environment where he comes into Origin camp, you could tell he’s not his normal self,” Daley said.
“I’m hoping that he’ll go to Souths, play really well but also have that spring in his step.”
With Gold Coast No.9 Nathan Peats the only real hooking option to emerge out of Farah’s shadow in recent years, Daley is believes Farah remains the premier dummy-half in the state.
Another possible candidate, Mitch Rein, is currently without a club after St George Illawarra opted not to offer him a new contract after this season.
Canterbury’s Michael Lichaa has failed to find another gear at Belmore, while former Blues rake and Cronulla premiership-winner Michael Ennis has hung up the boots.
Daley said the 32-year-old Farah in peak form still had a lot to give the Blues.
“If Robbie plays anywhere near his best, you’d think that he’s the best hooker NSW have. But again, that’ll be determined by how he plays and how other people play,” he said.