Coming into season 2012, Robbie Farah’s career was at a crossroads. The Wests Tigers captain had won a premiership and represented his state and country. But personally, injury and poor form had slowed the hooker.
The events of 2012 to date would have derailed many men. But this season hasn’t made Farah a man, its made him the man.
Wests Tigers Winning the 2005 Telstra Premiership shocked many. It was a rollercoaster ride for all involved and definitely surprised most. At the time, Farah was a mere rookie just trying to make his way. Did success come too quickly for Farah and the young Tigers? Possibly.
From that memorable night in October 2005, Wests failed to make the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. In that time, Farah represented the New South Wales Blues and Australia for the first time. In a forgettable 2009 State of Origin campaign, Farah was booted after two poor performances.
The jury was well and truly out on the rake.
With expectations high in 2010 and 2011, the Tigers were bundled out of the finals in week three and week two respectively. Wests were sure fun to watch, but did they have that real tenacity to pull through the other side of adversity.
Then came 2012.
With the Tigers struggling and on a losing streak, Farah fronted up to Matthew Johns on NRL on Fox. There were no clichés or sidestepping questions from the captain. He fired back.
“Come down to training, spend a day at our club and you tell me if you’ve seen a more tight knit group than what we’ve got at the Tigers” Farah told Johns that night.
“These rumours always come up year in, year out, when we’ve lost a couple of games and it’s absolute bullshit and it pisses me off and it pisses Benji off.”
When Johns called his team soft, Farah fired back again.
“That’s your opinion mate, I’m sure people have their opinions on you as well. The only thing is, you’ve been a footy player. Have you ever had a season you’ve gone through without its downs?”
Then came Tigers legend Steve Roach’s view that Farah wasn’t tough enough for Origin. The microscope wasn’t just on Farah, it was burning holes.
Only a certain kind of player can take all this on board and shine. Farah became that man in Origin game one. He backed up that performance with an even tougher display in game two. Ennis who?
Then the news that puts rugby league in perspective. Only an hour before game time last Sunday, coach Tim Sheens received a text message from Farah with the news that his mother had passed away from pancreatic cancer. The skipper understandably missed the game.
But being the man Farah is, he returned to the field on Monday night to face the Newcastle Knights.
The Tigers were smacked from pillar to post and gave up a fourteen point lead very easily. Earlier in the week, Farah requested to play.
Only one man could truly hold his head high after that performance against the Knights and it was Farah.
Who said Farah wasn’t tough?