Buoyed by an outpouring of support since being dumped to reserve grade, Robbie Farah says he is preparing for the fight of his life as he attempts to revive his NRL career.
Farah on Wednesday was punted from the Wests Tigers’ line-up by coach Jason Taylor for Sunday’s round-20 clash with St George Illawarra.
The move has reignited a feud between Farah and Taylor that began almost a year ago when the NSW State of Origin No.9 was told he was free to leave the club despite being under contract through 2017.
Farah’s 247-game career at the Tigers appears over and, late on Thursday, he was linked to a move to the Dragons for next season.
But first, he has to line up for the Tigers’ NSW Cup side against Newtown on Saturday at his beloved Leichhardt Oval.
“Saturday 3pm. Leichhardt Oval. Can’t wait. These last few days have again shown the amazing support I have #YNWA,” Farah wrote on Thursday night on Twitter.
Beneath the quote, of which #YNWA is a reference to English Premier League side Liverpool’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Along, Farah posted the quote: “Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life.”
NRL great Brad Fittler gave further insight into Farah’s mindset on the Nine Network.
“I was with Robbie yesterday and he was broken – he was distraught,” Fittler said.
“But he has copped it on the chin and realised all he can do is come back and play football.”
On Thursday morning, Taylor explained his decision axe the veteran No.9, saying the Blues’ Origin rake was incompatible with young playmakers Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks and fullback James Tedesco.
Only last week, Farah played in Origin III, his third game of the series.
“We’ve got too many cooks spoiling the broth,” Taylor said.
“It’s purely based on that. Robbie Farah is the NSW State of Origin hooker, he’s a Wests Tigers great, he’s a great player, but it’s just not working for us at the moment in regards to the cohesion of our team.
“I’m still not comfortable with where we are on the ladder (11th, 7-10).
“In my opinion, we should be further up with the squad we’ve got and I’ve been brought here to get this team going in the right direction and tough decisions need to be made.”
The Tigers this year are 3-6 with Farah in the line-up and are 4-4 without him.
Taylor said the club would honour Farah’s deal and did not have a problem carrying him on their list as a $950,000 a season reserve-grader.
“Robbie’s got a contract for next season so we’re expecting him to be here,” Taylor said.
“Robbie will be considered for selection every week. We’ll get through this weekend’s game and we’ll assess how this decision went.”
Farah was set to celebrate his 250-game milestone against North Queensland at Leichhardt in round 22 but those plans have been scuppered.