Dazed Tigers to be given until kick-off to pass concussion tests
By Christian Nicolussi
25 July 2018 — 5:45pm
Dazed and confused duo Robbie Farah and David Nofoaluma will be given until an hour before kick-off to pass concussion tests in a bid to continue Wests Tigers’ finals charge against Canterbury on Friday night.
The Tigers are chasing their third straight win after knocking over heavyweights St George Illawarra and South Sydney.
Farah, Nofoaluma, Elijah Taylor, Luke Garner and Michael Chee Kam all required head injury assessments against Souths, but only the star No.9 and 100-game winger have caused ongoing concern.
Farah did not take part in Wednesday’s field session, while Nofoaluma completed a series of concussion tests on the sideline.
Nofoaluma had never suffered a concussion and said he tried his best to pass the head-injury test and return to the field.
‘‘I was a bit out of it after that knock,’’ Nofoaluma said. "I got into the change room and started repeating all these answers in my head.
"I thought, ‘what will the doctor ask me’, and because I wanted to get back on the field I tried to remember as much as I could.
"But as soon the doctor started, I kept stuffing up. I knew I was no chance then. I had a bit of a blackout. It wasn’t from the actual tackle but my head hitting the ground. I felt fine by the next day and during the week I’ve followed the proper protocol.’’
Farah was flattened in a collision with George Burgess – after he survived a tough and legal hit from the giant Englishman’s brother, Sam Burgess, in the first half – and left the field on the back of a medicab nine minutes out from full-time.
The Tigers’ second coming has breathed new life into the club’s attack and Farah will be vital to the joint venture’s hopes of knocking over the Dogs.
Taylor said of Farah: "You can see the way he’s changed this team as soon as he came back. He’s smart and knows how to kick to corners and build pressure.
"It will be a significant loss if he doesn’t play, but Jacob Liddle played well at the start of the year and is more than excited if he gets another opportunity.’’
Meanwhile, Taylor, who has suffered several head knocks in recent years, said he had his suspicions about clubs who may have abused the concussion rules for the sake of a free interchange.
It has become an issue that clubs and players are well aware of but loath to speak about publicly.
"A free interchange is massive in a tight game and if you can get a fresh prop or dummy half on the field in the last 10 minutes, that can change a game,’’ Taylor said.
"I won’t speculate, but I can see how it could be used. I’ve seen a few things where I’ve had to scratch my head.’’
Taylor said it was not difficult to pass a concussion test after ‘‘you’ve done it a lot of times’’, but the players were well educated by the NRL and prepared to put their health before a victory.
Tigers’ new recruit Moses Mbye has been a huge asset to the club and will square off against his former employers for the first time, while Benji Marshall goes up against his brother Jeremy Marshall-King.