Fit Farah backs himself and Tigers to have a big year
By JOSH RAKIC …January 24, 2010.
WESTS Tigers captain Robbie Farah has revealed he is training pain-free for the first time since the club’s 2005 premiership boilover and he’s adamant the back problems that have plagued his career are a thing of the past.
‘‘I haven’t done back-squats or power-cleans in four or so years and I’ve started doing them again for the first time,’’ the hooker told The Sun-Herald. ''There are no restrictions any more and it’s feeling really good.
''I found at times last year that if I wasn’t as fit as I would have liked, I couldn’t go and do that extra session because I needed the rest. I couldn’t lift certain weights. Now I can prepare a lot better, I can train a lot harder and can make sure I play a lot better on the weekends.
‘‘I’m pretty much doing everything in the gym and I’m feeling a lot stronger. So hopefully that will improve my game.’’
Farah’s back problems culminated in serious spinal surgery last off-season, before he made his State of Origin debut for NSW. He had a ‘‘decent’’ season in 2009 by his own lofty standards, but declared he would be more dangerous than ever this year. And it’s thanks in part to new Tigers conditioner Steve Folkes, the premiership-winning Bulldogs coach.
‘‘Folkesy came in and he really freshened the place up,’’ said Farah, who turned 26 yesterday.
''He saw room for improvement and our weight sessions have been a lot harder than what we’re used to.
‘‘I’m getting a lot stronger. I’m getting there … I was a bit apprehensive at first. I was scared to do that sort of stuff. But now I’ve got that confidence with Folkesy’s help and that’s what a lot of it has to do with. I’ve got confidence in my body again.’’
Folkes has completely overhauled the Concord Oval gym and introduced tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of new equipment. The fitness fanatic has even brought a new team of eight specialist masseurs in tow.
‘‘There’s no music allowed in the gym,’’ Farah said. ''He says we’re in there to work and not to have a chat. So all the boys are working hard.
‘‘He came in at the end of last year and thought we were a little bit behind in the strength department. So he’s just got everyone in general upping the ante.’’
The merger outfit hasn’t featured in the finals since its first premiership in 2005, and Farah is hopeful Folkes’s arrival can prevent the side’s all-too-familiar mid-season trough.
‘‘Hopefully we can stay fresher and keep that consistency throughout the season instead of having to win games six weeks out from the semis to stay in with half a chance,’’ Farah said. ''I don’t know why it is we normally come good at the end of the season. We tend to start pretty well, but then we have the dull patch in the middle of the year.
‘‘But all the boys are looking really fit and training hard. I think we finished [last season] with seven wins from our last nine games, so that gives us a bit of springboard going into this season and we’ll hit the ground running coming in to round one. Hopefully we’ll see the effects of our new training methods on the field.’’
Robbie will win back his SOO jersey this year. He wasn’t at his best last year despite playing reasonably well each week but he definitely looks fitter this year and if his strength has improved and back is sweet, then look out. With the Tigers pack a little bit bigger, stronger and fitter, this can only help Farah’s game if he’s playing behind a pack with better go forward. Can’t wait to see how they shape up in the trials.
we all hope that Robbie has a good season.
he has had a taste of origin, and will be hungry to perform well for wests-tigers and be re-called into therep team.
good to read he feels that he is getting stronger, fitter.
his time with the kangaroo squad , will not doubt give him a bit more confidence.
i thought it was obvious towards the end of last year that farah wasnt at 100% fitness. to hear he is back to full fitness is great news.
imo he is close to the most dangerous attacking player in the nrl when fully fit. there arent many players who are equally dangerous when running, passing or kicking the ball as farah is.