The name “Robbie Farah” has certainly divided the opinions of not just Wests Tigers fans, but also the Rugby League universe in the past 12-months, ever since Jason Taylor publically came out and threatened to drop him if he stayed on in 2016.
The way it has been handled by both parties has been so public that it needs no further explaining, but if the saga is negatively affecting Farah, he has shown absolutely no sign of that on the field, with three incredibly dominant performances in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition.
After yesterday’s game where he scored a try, had a hand in three more and kicked a field goal, a clearly relaxed Farah showed obvious signs of personal growth after the game.
He admits his focus has shifted in recent weeks to just enjoying Rugby League -no matter what level he is playing – and has learned to accept what he simply cannot control.
“One thing I’ve learned over the past 12 months is that I can only focus on the things in my own control,” Farah tells NSWRL.com.au while accepting his Intrust Super Premiership NSW man of the match award.
“What I can control is going out there and playing good footy, that’s what I’ve been trying to do.
“[An NRL return] is not really my focus, to be honest, my focus is just to have fun and I’ve been doing that.”
He played in a winning side NSW VB Blues side in Game III of the 2016 State of Origin series, and to be focused on steering a second-tier side to a top four position within a month is certainly out of the norm for any player.
Irrespective of the fact that the Wests Tigers NRL side has won three out of their four matches since Jason Taylor made the bold call to drop Farah, the 247-game veteran has put in repeated five-star performances for his Intrust Super Premiership NSW side.
To his credit, training and playing to the best of his capabilities is what he has done, and his short-term goal is taking this side deep into the upcoming finals series.
“They [Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership NSW team] are a great bunch of boys that have made me feel welcome,” Farah said.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve really enjoyed going to training with them and coming out here and playing a bit of footy.
“We’re just enjoying our footy and I think that’s showing on the park, we want to continue our push for a top two position.”
Farah’s optimistic attitude towards his current crop of teammates extends to playing in a foreign position to accommodate other younger players in the side.
He started at hooker on the weekend, but moved into lock when Cronulla-bound rising-star Manaia Cherrington came onto the field and played in the dummy half position.
It worked wonders for the team, as Cherrington made two linebreaks, set up a try and was involved in the lead-up for one more, and Farah hopes his presence will fast-track the development of a young player with such a bright future.
“With Cherrington on the bench I go into lock, I guess it’s not a traditional lock, but I’m just in there supporting the big boys and looking for opportunities around the ruck,” Farah said.
“I hope he [thrives], he’s a good kid. We’re always talking and he knows that if he runs then I’m there supporting him and vice versa.
“He’s providing plenty of spark and again he did that [yesterday], he came up with a couple of good try assists, it was good fun and we knew it was going to be a tough test, the Wenty have been in some great form of late, so it was a great performance by the boys.”
Where Farah will end up in 2017 is anyone’s guess, but the 247-game veteran is quite obviously a class above in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition.
Weather he should be playing in the NRL is purely circumstantial depending on which club he plays for next year.
On form alone, he is certainly good enough to consistently play and even dominate first grade, but if he should play for the Wests Tigers again seems to have gone deeper than just form, and joining another club will give him a fresh opportunity should he follow that path.
All he can do at the moment is finishing the year by performing in whatever grade he is selected for, which Farah has accepted with optimism.