STOP the fight - Robbie Farah is all but assured the NSW hooking role for Origin I.
Having sealed victory against the Titans on Saturday night with a field goal, the Wests Tigers captain has won the battle with Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis.
NSW coach Ricky Stuart went so far yesterday as to talk about the selection with Blues assistant coach and Tigers legend Steve Roach, who only a week ago told The Daily Telegraph that Farah “wasn’t an Origin player”.
It is understood Farah has told Blues officials there would be no animosity with Roach if selected.
Asked how he felt about Farah coming into the side, Roach said last night: "I’m sweet. Good as gold. There’s no problem at all. It’s great that he performed (against the Titans). It was exactly what we were looking for. I am the first to congratulate him when he plays like that.
“It might’ve sparked him because he played great. It wasn’t the winning field goal that impressed me. It was the charge down with a minute to go. That’s Origin.”
While Ennis has done nothing wrong to lose his spot, there are concerns that he is still carrying a knee injury, despite him and coach Des Hasler saying otherwise.
“I agree with all the comment about Robbie Farah,” Stuart said. “You don’t have to sell me on Robbie Farah, because I think he’s a good player. Robbie Farah knows that, because I told him.”
The hooking conundrum might be solved, but others remain.
There are serious doubts about Blues incumbent Michael Jennings, who will undergo an MRI on his injured right shoulder today and is facing two to three weeks on the sideline for the Panthers.
While Penrith captain Luke Lewis won’t train until Thursday, he is expected to play against the Dragons on Monday night.
The Blues have not dismissed the idea of playing out-of-form Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne, who is being considered for the left wing. Stuart revealed yesterday he had spoken to Hayne about his form ahead of the team being named.
“Everyone got shocked when I picked Michael Jennings and he wasn’t in good form,” Stuart told The Sunday Footy Show.
“Jarryd Hayne, he’s very quiet. Very quiet with what we know he can do. But Jarryd Hayne is an X-factor player. I spoke to Jarryd (on Saturday) and he’s not happy with his performance either.”
Utility is the other position causing headaches, with Manly forward Jamie Buhrer, Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds and Knights pivot Jarrod Mullen vying for the spot.
“Utility is a big place in the team we have to find with Kurt Gidley’s injury,” Stuart said. “They are tough boots to fill. All but the utility role, I would be comfortable in naming the team right now.”
Farah’s impending selection is an eternity away from a week ago when he was installed by TAB Sportsbet at a $3.50 chance to tip Ennis out.
Former Tigers prop and under-20s coach Todd Payten tweeted after the match: "Hope blocker was watching tonight! Not suited my arse. It’s the same size field with the same ball!