Operation Farewell Farah will crank into overdrive next week with the Wests Tigers legend prepared to defy pain and run on his broken leg for the first time.
While he remains long odds to overcome a cracked tibia and return for Sunday week’s clash with the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval, Robbie Farah has quietly worked around the clock to get back on the paddock.
Tigers teammates revealed Farah was able to walk without crutches this week, and the tough-as-nails No. 9 was even spotted completing some squats in the gym.
The best way for a weight-bearing bone like the tibia to repair is rest, with six weeks widely considered the earliest return date.
Should Farah play on Sunday week in front of a packed house against Cronulla, it will have been just 29 days since he hobbled off ANZ Stadium against Canterbury.
The retiring Farah, a noted quick healer, knows time is not on his side. The Herald has learned he’s already started jogging on a trampoline and has also used an anti-gravity treadmill.
Farah has already made peace with the fact if he doesn’t play, but will never forgive himself he doesn’t do everything in his power to defy the odds and play for the Tigers again. The plan will be to try and run at training early next week.
There was talk Farah would be named to play against the Sharks, especially if they lost to St George Illawarra on Sunday and other results meant they could not reach the top eight. But there is no way the 35-year-old will entertain such a move if he wasn’t fit.
Farah’s good mate Benji Marshall was the shock option to start at dummy-half against Newcastle while Josh Reynolds has been named in the No.9 again and expected to start in the middle from the opening whistle against the Dragons.
The Dragons were last week linked to Reynolds, who has been told by the Tigers he is free to look elsewhere, despite having two years to run on his current deal worth around $1.5 million. However, Dragons officials are happy with Cameron McInnes and view Fijian international Joe Lovodua as their long-term back-up option.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if Robbie gets back,” fullback Corey Thompson said. "You don’t play 300 NRL games if you’re not professional. I’m sure he’s doing everything before, during and after training to give himself that one shot to finish the year strongly.
“Benji is on fire, ‘Brooksy’ [Luke Brooks] is on fire, Grubby added so much energy off bench on the weekend. If Robbie is at 90 per cent, even 80 per cent, he can lead the forwards around and put us through holes.”
Halfback Luke Brooks, arguably the Tigers’ best the past six weeks, said of Farah: “I saw Robbie before walking around. Knowing him he’ll doing everything he can do to go around again this year. ‘Grubby’ will get the job done [in the meantime], and even if Robbie comes back there’s still a spot for Grubby in the side.”
There is already plenty of excitement brewing ahead of the final round, but Tigers players also know there is no way they can treat the Dragons lightly. Fans have sadly become too used to seeing their Tigers lose the games they’re expected to win.