Farah puts Tigers ahead of Origin
- By Steve Gee
- From: The Daily Telegraph
- May 01, 2010 12:00AM
WESTS Tigers captain Robbie Farah does not fear that his switch to halfback will hinder his chances of a State of Origin recall.
The Kangaroos rake is also happy to fill the No. 7 role in next week’s City-Country clash if selectors ask.
Farah’s move to halfback for tomorrow’s clash against the Roosters is just part of a Tigers reshuffle after the side’s struggle for rhythm following injuries to specialists Tim Moltzen and Robert Lui.
It sets up an intriguing clash against former Raider Todd Carney, who has been moved from fullback to halfback to cover for injured Rooster Mitchell Pearce.
Carney is expected to be named at five-eighth for Country and while Farah remains in the frame for a bench spot in the Anzac Test, it is more likely he will play hooker for City. A left-field switch to halfback also remains an option for Farah as City selectors try to overcome the loss of Pearce and Brisbane playmaker Peter Wallace.
Farah, 26, is locked in a fierce battle with Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis for the NSW No. 9 jumper after the Bulldogs rake usurped him for Origin III last year.
But Farah does not believe the switch will affect his NSW hopes.
“I don’t think one game at halfback is going to make the selectors’ minds up,” Farah said. "I’ve been playing hooker for more than five or six years in the NRL.
“I’ve been asked to move to halfback this week and my first priority is captaining the Wests Tigers and what’s best for the team.”
Quizzed about filling the role for City, Farah replied: "I’ll do the job wherever they need me. With Mitch and Wal [Wallace] going down it does leave City a bit short.
“There’s a couple of young guys they could throw in or they could throw me there. I’ll worry about that after the game on Sunday.”
Farah, who played games at halfback for the Tigers last year and in 2008, said his game wouldn’t change much. “What I will be looking to do is probably try and give Benji as much ball as I can,” he said.
“The past couple of weeks Benji hasn’t got the ball he’s needed, so hopefully I can control things around the ruck and provide him with as much opportunity as I can.”
Despite losing his Blues jersey to Ennis last season, Farah was the back-up hooker for Australia behind vice-captain Cameron Smith on the Four Nations tour of England.
The move sparked cries of nepotism from Bulldogs fans who believed Tigers coach Tim Sheens had shown favouritism to Farah.
The Tigers skipper bristles at suggestions his link with Sheens gives him a rails run for national selection and, as a by-product, at state level.
“There are selectors there as well and I’m sure if they want to pick me I’ll be there, and if not I won’t be,” Farah said.
“Tim hasn’t said anything to me. He doesn’t talk about Australian things to me. If he was worried about Origin and Australia I think I would be playing hooker this week.”