Farah's Last Hurrah

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Farah's Last Hurrah

Post by Byron Bay Fan » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:00 am

I'm done, mate': The game when Farah decided to retire

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/i-m-do ... 4zoj7.html

This is a copy of the massive 2 page article on him in today's SMH hard copy entitled Leichhard & Soul. As well as back page full size pic of "The Man".

(if we can gasbag about Woodsy and he is not here we can do about this guy who is here)
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'I'm done, mate': The game when Farah decided to retire
By Andrew Webster
30 June 2018 — 12:00am


Robbie Farah was standing behind the goalposts at North Sydney Oval five weeks ago when he decided this would be the last game of football he would ever play — if it ever got around to finishing.

The Bears had conceded yet another try to Blacktown Workers in their NSW Cup match. His eyes went searching for the clock and, when he found it, it delivered bad news: there was still a long way to go.

Back in Tiger Town: Robbie Farah on Darling Street in Rozelle this week.
Back in Tiger Town: Robbie Farah on Darling Street in Rozelle this week.

Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
“I just didn’t want to be there,” he recalls. “Just get me off the field.”

Farah had been thinking about retirement for weeks. He was playing reserve grade for the Bears — Souths’ feeder team — and knew he’d only play first grade again if first-choice hooker Damien Cook was injured.

He was playing reserve grade purely for pride and that’s not easy when you’re a 34-year-old who has ticked footy's three big boxes: NRL premiership; Origin win for NSW; played for the Kangaroos.

The idea of retirement first hit him one Saturday morning as the team bus made its way to Newcastle. “What am I doing?” he thought to himself.

If the voice in his head wasn’t telling him to give it away, the fans on the hill were.

Give it up, Farah! You’re s***!

“It was hard, mate,” Farah says. “Really hard. I don’t want to disrespect Norths because they are a great club … but it was embarrassing for me. You get there, you get heckled by the crowd. There's always a smart-arse and I’ve got thick skin. You don’t let it bother you too much. The hardest thing was that the only chance I would get to play NRL again was if Cookie was injured. Mentally, that was tough.”

Play VideoTigers return 'never in my wildest dreams': FarahPlay Video
01:48

Tigers return 'never in my wildest dreams': Farah
Playing in 2 ...Don't Play
The longtime Wests Tigers hooker, who left the club in 2016 after a falling-out with former coach Jason Taylor, has returned after a short stint with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

When the match against Blacktown was finally over, one of the first people he saw when he came off the field was his girlfriend, Rina.

“You’ve over it, aren’t you?” she asked him.

“Yep.”

“I can tell. You didn’t want to be there.”

“I’m done.”

Farah texted his long-time manager, Sam Ayoub: “I need to see you tomorrow.”

Ayoub’s been around. He knew what was coming when he met with Farah the next day.

“I can’t keep doing this,” Farah said. “It’s not fair on the Bears, it’s not fair on Souths, I’m done.”

Now I’m back," he says. "Far out. Who’d have thought?

Robbie Farah
Ayoub could sell ice to the Eskimos. Telling a player to keep playing on just a little longer was an easy sell. He calmed Farah down. Told him to hang in there. Cook was about to be named in Brad Fittler’s NSW side for the Origin opener and Farah was sure to be called up for Souths.

“Play one more game, mate,” Ayoub told him.

Farah played one more game. Good move.

He played for Souths, against the Sharks, and was one of the stars of their victory. The next morning, his former Wests Tigers teammate Benji Marshall texted him: “Come home. We need a hooker.”

Marshall spoke to coach Ivan Cleary, who liked the idea. Farah spoke to Cleary. Cleary spoke to his club while Farah and Ayoub spoke to Souths. Within weeks, the Tigers confirmed Farah would play out the rest of the season with the club he was pushed out of two years ago and, on Sunday against the Titans, he makes his return in black and gold at Leichhardt Oval, the same place where he debuted in 2003.

“Everything changed after that night we played Cronulla,” Farah says. “It made me want to finish on a better note. I didn’t want my career to just fizzle out. I would regret walking away. That’s no way for me to end my career. I’ve got a fair bit of pride. I’m glad Sammy talked me out of it. This opportunity wouldn’t have come up if he hadn’t.”

Another round: Robbie Farah is interviewed on the Leichhardt Oval scoreboard following what was thought to be his final farewell.
Another round: Robbie Farah is interviewed on the Leichhardt Oval scoreboard following what was thought to be his final farewell.

Photo: Adam Pengilly
Farah tells me all of this earlier in the week over breakfast at About Life on Darling Street, Rozelle, right in the heart of Tiger Town. Before the food, we stand out on the street for a series of photographs.

“Glad you’re on the bus, Robbie!” declares the butcher at Darling Street Meats, referring to Cleary’s well-worn metaphor from last year when local juniors James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses were weighing up offers to leave, which they did.

After that, a white Nissan Pulsar full of twentysomething girls drives past.

“Yaaaay, Robbie!” the driver yells. “Welcome back Farah!”

A rough-looking older man walking by thinks they are talking to him. “Thanks, girls!” he shouts back. Yes, the world is truly amazing.

Outsider: Farah says people saw him as a Tiger in the wrong jersey.
Outsider: Farah says people saw him as a Tiger in the wrong jersey.

Photo: Dave Hunt
“The reaction of the fans makes you feel special,” Farah says. “It’s great to be back but to see what it means to the punters and people on the street means a lot. Even when I was at Redfern, I felt like 'Robbie from the Tigers'. People saw me as a Tiger, not a Rabbitoh. It made me feel like I was an outsider.”

The Tigers had made him feel like that in late 2016 when he was told by then-coach Jason Taylor he could expect to play out the rest of his $900,000-a-season contract in reserve grade.

The board backed Taylor and Farah eventually signed with Souths. Only a handful of matches into the next season and Taylor was gone, too.

Farah doesn’t want to talk about the past and that’s understandable. All he will say is this: “I know within myself that I’m comfortable with how I’ve handled things in the past. I can’t change perception. I’m sure before going to Souths people might’ve been iffy about me going there. People who don’t know me form an opinion, but they wouldn’t know the truth. Whatever people think of me, it’s worse than it is.”

What’s certain is that none of us thought we’d see Farah playing for the Tigers again, including the man himself. He named his new sports events company Two4Seven, in reference to the 247 matches he played for the club.

“I’ll have to change the name,” he laughs.

A trip with mates to the Super Bowl in San Francisco in early 2016 sparked his interest in setting up the company. He took a bunch of people to last Sunday night’s Origin match at ANZ.

A package is available in late September to take a private jet to Melbourne for the AFL grand final before flying back to Sydney for the NRL decider. The Tigers are long shots to be there but Farah will be doing all he can to make sure he isn’t on the private jet that weekend.

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“It’s all warm and fuzzy now — but there’s a job to do,” he says.

But let’s just stay with the warm and fuzzy for a moment. Let’s not underestimate the significance of him making his return and, at all places, Leichhardt Oval, the scene of his debut 15 years ago.

What’s the line from the Cold Chisel song Flame Trees? We’ve shared some history, this town and I … Farah and Leichhardt have some history.

Like the Monday night game against the Cowboys when everything he touched turned to gold. What about the field goal out of dummy half to win the game against Newcastle in golden point? Then there’s the hat-trick of tries against Souths before a record crowd, with fans sitting on the roofs of surrounding houses.

He will never forget the match in 2007, also against Souths, when he received a painkilling injection in his hip, only to realise as he walked out onto the field that the doctor had hit the nerve and his left leg was completely numb. He tried to kick for touch and the ball failed to dribble more than two metres.

He’s done all of this with a bunch of his mates who he played lower and junior grades with sitting on a pocket of the hill at Leichhardt. “I always keep an eye out for them because I know they are going to be there,” he says. “There’ll be there on Sunday — on the cans.”

God love 'em.

There’s also the time at Leichhardt in the days after the 2005 grand final win over the Cowboys when the fans climbed out of the trees to celebrate with the newly crowned premiers, who were a bunch of misfits and older players nobody wanted, as well as abundantly talented young punks like Farah and Marshall.

“You win a premiership at the age of 21 and you think, ‘I’ll be playing another 10 years so I can win another two or three of these’,” he says. “You just think you’ll get another chance and then you realise how hard it is to win one.”

Remembrance: Tigers' Benji Marshall stands in a minutes silence for Robbie Farah's mother.
Remembrance: Tigers' Benji Marshall stands in a minutes silence for Robbie Farah's mother.

Photo: Steve Christo
Perhaps Farah’s most vivid and emotional memory of Leichhardt was the day he wasn’t there. It was June 2012. The Tigers were playing the Roosters. Farah’s mum, Sonia, had bravely pushed back against the pancreatic cancer that was ravaging her but on that morning she finally let go. Farah decided not to play. He couldn't.

After a minute’s silence, Marshall broke down in tears. So did winger Beau Ryan. As anyone there that day will recall, it was heartbreaking.

“Benji was the first person I texted that morning,” Farah recalls. “All my best mates have been through that footy club. They become like a family. You share the memories on the field but you share in each others’ lives. You spend as much time with them as you do your brothers and sisters. I’ll never forget the support when Mum died. They were all there. Tigers people came to that funeral to support me.”

And that’s why it hurt so much when Taylor banished him to reserve grade. Why it hurt him to leave.

“I just wanted to be a one-club player,” Farah says. “I’m a loyal person by nature. I stick by my mates and my family. It is the same with footy. I’m an ambitious person and I wanted to win and be in more grand finals. You are tempted to leave and at times I considered it but it came to the crunch I said, ‘I can’t leave this place'."

It's why he's still shaking his head in disbelief about finishing his career where it started when he was about to put himself out of his misery at North Sydney Oval only five weeks ago.

“Now I’m back," he says. "Far out. Who’d have thought?”
Malcolm Knox: What has happened this week is a pity for the Tigers, a pity for Jason Taylor and a pity for Robbie Farah, who had achieved more than the Big Four put together but was somehow turned into collateral damage. (SMH 25-26 March, 2017)


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Post by happy tiger » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am

I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest

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Post by hobbo » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:54 am

happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
One more year :pray:
We need mongrel ..
No more plodders !

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Post by Nucky Thompson » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:21 am

happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
Get over yourself

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Post by happy tiger » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:35 am

Nucky Thompson wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:21 am
happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
Get over yourself
I'm not the person talking about myself in the 3rd person , you'll need to post that on Robbie's twitter account

Sure we will see you Sunday genuflecting and dropping rose petals when Robbie runs out

Good luck with that


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Post by Byron Bay Fan » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:38 am

I know he is known as Slippery Sam but the line "Ayoub could sell ice to the Eskimos." makes me understand why players stick by him.
Malcolm Knox: What has happened this week is a pity for the Tigers, a pity for Jason Taylor and a pity for Robbie Farah, who had achieved more than the Big Four put together but was somehow turned into collateral damage. (SMH 25-26 March, 2017)

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Post by oldprop » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:04 am

Hope he does well. I’ll be there to cheer with all the others but he’ll never change. It’s always going to be about Robbie.
Need more props.

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Post by The Patriot » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:09 am

Nucky Thompson wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:21 am
happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
Get over yourself

Agreed.

Like let it go already
Its an opinion!

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Post by Byron Bay Fan » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:10 am

oldprop wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:04 am
Hope he does well. I’ll be there to cheer with all the others but he’ll never change. It’s always going to be about Robbie.
When you are being interviewed because of who you are of course it is going to be about himself and his perspective. As Woodsy says: it is how it is.
Malcolm Knox: What has happened this week is a pity for the Tigers, a pity for Jason Taylor and a pity for Robbie Farah, who had achieved more than the Big Four put together but was somehow turned into collateral damage. (SMH 25-26 March, 2017)

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Post by happy tiger » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:12 am

The Patriot wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:09 am
Nucky Thompson wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:21 am
happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
Get over yourself

Agreed.

Like let it go already
You should stick to New England

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Post by The Patriot » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:13 am

No one will have anything to say about Benji being responsible for the Farah signing.

Is that not sticking his nose into the running of the club?

Benji is back half a season and is now having a say on who we should sign!

For the record i have no problem with it. Senior players at all clubs do these kind of things. Just at the Wests Tigers we turn on our players and comment on their supposed massive egos.

Please pftttt
Its an opinion!

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Post by mike » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:35 am

I for one can’t wait for Sunday. I hope he has a blinder and we smash the Titans.
Western Suburbs supporter since 1960 | Balmain junior since 1967 | Wests Tigers supporter since 1999

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Post by Byron Bay Fan » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:50 am

The Patriot wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:13 am
No one will have anything to say about Benji being responsible for the Farah signing.

Is that not sticking his nose into the running of the club?

Benji is back half a season and is now having a say on who we should sign!

For the record i have no problem with it. Senior players at all clubs do these kind of things. Just at the Wests Tigers we turn on our players and comment on their supposed massive egos.

Please pftttt
When there are specialist players sometimes they know more about the position than the coach may, especially when they have played the position at every level and major awards for such. So when the coach may have never played that position the specialist can be listened to if not followed.
Malcolm Knox: What has happened this week is a pity for the Tigers, a pity for Jason Taylor and a pity for Robbie Farah, who had achieved more than the Big Four put together but was somehow turned into collateral damage. (SMH 25-26 March, 2017)

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Post by happy tiger » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:58 am

The Patriot wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 11:13 am
No one will have anything to say about Benji being responsible for the Farah signing.

Is that not sticking his nose into the running of the club?

Benji is back half a season and is now having a say on who we should sign!

For the record i have no problem with it. Senior players at all clubs do these kind of things. Just at the Wests Tigers we turn on our players and comment on their supposed massive egos.

Please pftttt
I support our club 100 % , players will come and go , no matter how good or bad they are

What Benji did may have overstepped the mark but he handled it was the right way , heard about a player , went to the coach with a suggestion , the rest was history

When you handle things through your manager with the comments about player welfare or speak to media "off the record" about coaches , that is a hell of a lot different

But hey , that's just me , I'm up front when I deal with people , call a spade a spade , and I think people respect you mostly when you do that , they know where they stand and you know where they stand

Accountability , I think they call it

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Post by matchball » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 12:41 pm

"There's always a smart-arse and I’ve got thick skin"

Hahaha. I stopped reading at thick skin.
Glad it's only for the rest of the season.

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Post by mtd » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:08 pm

Farah needed to go when he did. Probably even before that... He wore thin on me..

but the timing of this is perfect. I've let go of his old ways and think he will finish a more humble player.

GoThetiges!!!!!

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Post by Red88 Tiger » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:15 pm

When I read Benji got the door open for his return my first thought was he's booked himself out of first grade. With an 80minute hooker may be best to carry a forward utility. Barring injury to one of the halves

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Post by formerguest » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:53 pm

happy tiger wrote:
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:50 am
I'm trying to be positive about Robbie , but this is what annoys me ........

"I know within myself that I'm comfortable with how I have handled things in the past "

He can't say he has changed after comments like that ,even Wally Lewis has admitted he handled things wrongly in his final season at Brisbane

Robbie needs to swallow his pride and say he should of kept his nose out of club politics , I wonder if he realizes if he did most fans who find him on the nose would probably stand as one and say "Captain ,my Captain "

No one questions the footballer Robbie , your a great of the club ..............possibly the greatest
I am with you Happy and just need a few words to allow me to support him again. Much like Benji, admitted his errors and we all moved on, easy.

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