I’m here; JT is coaching reserve grade’: Farah’s 300-game Taylor sledge
By Christian Nicolussi
July 23, 2019 — 8.30pm
Not even a couple of cortisone injections in his neck will stop Wests Tigers pin-up Robbie Farah bravely soldiering on to NRL game No. 300 on Friday night.
The tough-as-nails Tigers No. 9 will reach the magical mark in Newcastle, and revealed the club had only a few weeks ago planned to give him a week off to cope with the pain, which would have also meant his magical milestone was celebrated next weekend back home at spiritual Leichhardt Oval.
Tough Tiger: Robbie Farah is ready for the 300th NRL game he thought he’d never have.
Tough Tiger: Robbie Farah is ready for the 300th NRL game he thought he’d never have.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY/SMH
Farah bleeds black, white and orange and while forever grateful South Sydney threw him a lifeline when unwanted by the Tigers – or more specifically former coach Jason Taylor – it is a great shame he will not retire a one-club player.
Taylor famously told Farah during an emotional 2016 season had he stayed at the Tigers he would have finished his career in reserve grade.
"I wouldn’t want to hear from JT anyway,’’ Farah told the Herald on Tuesday when asked if he expected a congratulatory call.
"At the time I was told by him and ‘Rocket’ Reddy I’d finish my career in reserve grade. But I’m here now - ‘JT’ is coaching reserve grade [at North Sydney].’’
Just like his good mate Benji Marshall, who celebrated his own 300th game last Sunday week, Farah would happily bypass all the fuss for the two competition points at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Farah, 35, has worked overtime to remain on the park after he injured his neck playing for Lebanon last month. He caused further damage a week later going low on Souths back-rower John Sutton.
"I keep getting pain down my arm, which isn’t nice. I guess I could have done with a week off in between, but I’m trying to push through it and we need some wins,’’ Farah said.
“My brother Eddie has been unbelievable. He works his arse off at the Rabbitohs, but he’ll call me and will come to my house or dad’s place and treat me late at night.”
"Without him treating me, and with [physio] Pete Moussa here at the Tigers, the way those two have looked after me and got me through my career, especially the last couple of years when the body has had its issues, I can’t thank them enough.’’
Wests Tigers veteran Robbie Farah has dropped a major hint about his retirement plans.
Plenty of family and friends will make the trek up the M1 Motorway for Farah’s big night, but Eddie will stay behind for Souths, who host St George Illawarra in the 8pm game.
Farah’s late mother Sonia will be looking down, he said, but would have had a simple message for her boy.
"She’d have the shits and would have told me to quit years ago,’’ Farah said.
"She would have seen me with the injuries and the pain I go through and shook her head and said: ‘You’re an idiot, why are you still playing?’ I don’t know if she’d be proud. She’d be like, ‘bloody retire’.’’
Speaking of which, Farah and the Tigers remain in no rush about a deal for 2020. The tip is Farah will call it quits and Marshall will play on.
Farah’s understudy, Jacob Liddle, continues to bulk up and is understood to have already signed a new deal with the club, while Queenslander Jake Simpkins arrives in the new season with big raps.
Premiership winner Farah is already the most-capped Tiger, but it’s fair to say he could have set a longstanding record had he not been forced to leave before his 2018 mid-season homecoming.
Damien Cook, the Souths, NSW and Kangaroos No.9, praised Farah for pushing his own game to new levels during his 18 months at Redfern.
"But to see him back at the Tigers, it put a smile on his face, it put a smile on the face of so many league fans, especially Tigers fans, and he knew he had some unfinished business,’’ Cook said.
"I believe the Tigers are where his heart is. He loved his time here at Souths, but it’s great to see him enjoying his footy where it all started. I can only wish him the best for his 300th.’’