Farah just might give NSW the bite to chew up old foes

Freakish Farah just might give NSW the bite to chew up old foes
Ben Ikin
May 23, 2012


Coming into this year’s State of Origin series, there was much debate around the make-up of the NSW team and the dummy half was one position receiving plenty of attention.

Danny Buderus was back from England and the coach’s first choice. Michael Ennis was the incumbent but apparently playing injured and out of form. And it was publicly stated that Robbie Farah was not suited to Origin football.

I believe NSW have ended up settling on the best option, one that worries me most as a Queenslander. Farah is one of the most complete players in the NRL and holds the key to NSW success tonight.

Farah is an interesting study. Serious but not arrogant, intelligent and a deep thinker. He is also one of the rare few who can best be described as a win-at-all-costs athlete.

Players like Robbie aren’t generally good company after a loss or a poor individual performance, such is their attachment to repeated perfection. Ironic, really, considering the personality of NSW coach Ricky Stuart.

Having watched the Wests Tigers dummy half for many years, I still marvel at his ability (like Cameron Smith) to make somewhere between 35 and 50 tackles a game while carrying the creative burden of his side. The mental toughness required to push through a mountain of work, yet still provide an attacking spark when tired is a trait not common.

There are those who can do one or the other, work hard but not have to think, or be the thinker but minimise the monotonous labour.

Farah is one of the sharpest in our game. His ability to employ changes of direction, smart passing and pre-rehearsed tricks with his forwards is as good as it gets. He unsettles opposition ruck defences with guile and urgency creating the time and space his outside men need.

Farah’s left boot is an invaluable part of his skill set, and his short kicking game can earn points. But it’s his ability to pick and choose when he takes the long kick that can put pressure on opposition sides. With Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce both strong kickers, having Farah as the third option could cause headaches for the Maroons’ back three.

Farah is also a very competent defender. One criticism I can’t agree with is that his “catching” style of defence has no place in Origin footy. I admire the small men who make strong, low contact in the tackle, but the quick play-the-ball that ensues often corrupts the defensive set.

The modern game requires that defenders control the speed at which a ball carrier is brought down and gets to his feet. This requires that multiple defenders play a role, with the catcher, or grip defender, a very important component.

Funnily , Smith is the NRL’ s best exponent of this. And, as NSW try to limit the space given Queensland’s once-in-a-generation back line, quality grip defenders will be an asset.

Although unfair to suggest the result for NSW will depend on their hooker, it is imperative the Blues forwards buy into Farah’s creativity. Unless NSW are exposing of the Maroons’ defence around the play-the-ball, the halves pairing of Pearce and Carney will be dominated.

As Queensland seek their seventh successive State of Origin series victory, I see a NSW side that most critics haven’t rated all that highly standing in their way. And while superlatives fly around the Maroons, there’s an angry little dummy half plotting what would be the greatest upset in Origin history.

I hope he gets it wrong - go the Maroons!

Great article, can’t believe Ikin wrote it.

It’s about time this myth of Farah not being up to Origin was put to bed. Cameron Smith is a very similar style of defender to Farah, you never see him put massive hits on. He tackles just like Farah does.

Hope Robbie has a blinder tonight.

Robbie Farah is there for long term do your best robbie hope u have one of your best games ever go u tigers.

I dont know where The theory he can’t tackle came from. Probably Laurie Daley. He makes Atleast 40 tackles a game. They keep replaying his last origin game where he missed Falou.
He’s got the hunger and ability tonight to make it a truly great come back.
Robbie for mom
The character he shows by answering those dumb questions about him self make me want to play tonight and prove myself in which I have no doubt whatsoever he will.
Great article by Ikin who has a great football brain. I’ve been saying for years that Cameron smith plays and defends like farah.
Got get Em son and do us proud



Posted using RoarFEED 2012

NSW are a better team and 1 step closer to beating QLD with Robbie Farah at Dummy Half!!!

I sincerely hope Robbie plays well tonight. The NSW powerbrokers already have him fit for a scapegoat jacket should the Blues lose badly.

C’mon Rob, play your normal game and show the rest of the league what we Tiger fans already know about you……just dont do it too well 😉

Farah is the only player QLD should fear.

@Demps:

Farah is the only player QLD should fear.

Qld might want to be fearful of another bloke called Todd Carney, and then a 3rd Party in Matt Checcin and his whistle happy ways…

But if this game is played in the middle and the Referee’s dont try and keep it a close game, Queensland by 20 points!

Ikin has always been a pretty bog average commentator and sideline eye but as a student of the game he has always been a bright one. Really well thought out article especially on the psyche of Farah. He has played with guys in his time who are the same way

@Tiger Watto:

@Demps:

Farah is the only player QLD should fear.

Qld might want to be fearful of another bloke called Todd Carney, and **then a 3rd Party in Matt Checcin and his whistle happy ways…**But if this game is played in the middle and the Referee’s dont try and keep it a close game, Queensland by 20 points!

Already looking for excuses , Watto?
Can hear an old Roy Orbison song playing…… ‘Running Scared’ 😆

his appointment is very dubious… Big Mal smells a rat!!!

Checcin is just a bad reff full stop

Surely that article wasn’t written by Ikin???
Anyway, it’s spot on and something nsw should have realised 3 years ago.

On Checcin, rubbish ref he may be but he was the one who spotted the cowboys obstruction in the '05 GF and saved the game for us! For that we should always be grateful.

@Tiger Watto:

his appointment is very dubious… Big Mal smells a rat!!!

…three pies, two sausage rolls, and three jelly doughnuts…

Quality teams win despite poor decsisions.

QLD will still get up despite some bad calls.

What a great rugby league article with good insight by a former S.O.O player. One of the best I’ve read in ages, but maybe just because I whole heartedly agree with everything written.

You can’t run without the footy and thats Robbies target everytime. I wish there was more emphasis on the ball carrier to maintain defense of the ball. I think the ball should be fair game for defenders in a tackle and do away with all the controversy around the strip. For a smaller bloke like myself it was the only way to stop or atleast hault the the big ball runners until my bigger mates came in low with the shoulder.

As a N.S Welshman living in rural QLD and will be watching the game in a country pub (in my colours of course), I’ll be more excited for Farah if NSW win then NSW itself.

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