With Fairfax papers this morning confirming Robbie Farah could make a shock return to his former employers, it’s worth considering whether or not the veteran rake would be the right fit for a team and a club that have moved a long way forward since his departure.
There are few more iconic images in our game than Robbie Farah sat sprawled across the famous old scoreboard at Leichhardt Oval with a beer in hand some hours after his final game for the club.A fearless leader and perhaps the man to best embody the spirit of the joint venture, Farah was to the Wests Tigers as Wally Lewis was to Queensland or Darren Lockyer to the Broncos.
Since then, Farah has linked up with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and now only features sporadically after the rapid rise of Damien Cook at Redfern and he appears eager to force his way out of the club before the June 30 deadline by any means necessary.
Getting out of Redfern
Farah was briefly linked with a move to the Canberra Raiders after injury strike down Michael Hodgson before the season, but the emergence of Siliva Havili and the imminent return of Hodgson makes a move to the nation’s capital unlikely.
With South Sydney reportedly happy for the hooker to make a move before the deadline, Farah and his camp appear to have sought out the Tigers, now coached by Ivan Cleary as the best possible landing spot for the two-time Dally M Hooker of the Year.
While Farah and his team appear keen on a reunion with the Tigers, I’m not convinced a return to the past is what is in the best interests of the club.
The Tigers have come a long way from the days they floundered under the leadership (or lack thereof) of Jason Taylor. Some hard decisions were made and some fan favourites were shown the door in an effort to revitalise and rebuild a playing roster that had stagnated and was going nowhere fast.
Ivan Cleary has brought in a raft of new faces and managed to find enough steely determination and raw, rugged enthusiasm to have his side inside the top eight and on track for a much-needed finals berth. The changes have been swift and those brought in have, almost to a man, bought into the culture of accountability and camaraderie that Cleary thrives with.
Bringing back another of the old guard, Benji Marshall proved a masterstroke. Marshall stepped into a significant halves role in the wake of injury to star recruit Josh Reynolds and, along with Luke Brooks, guided the team to an impressive first half of the season.
Lightning, however, so rarely strikes twice in this game.
Tigers in need of a hooker, but is Farah the man?
On the surface, a club struggling to fill the dummy-half role should welcome the arrival of Farah, who has even in the last few weeks shown there are still the embers of his storied career burning.The fact that Farah is a club legend and would perhaps find a significant portion of the fans keen to see him return and finish his career with the club should make this an obvious move.
That said, if I was Ivan Cleary or any decision maker at the Tigers, I’d be steering clear of a reunion with Farah.
The events which led up to his departure from the club were a sour note on a rough period, and those old wounds are not fully healed. There are undoubtedly some at the club who would not be happy to see the return of a man who, by plenty of accounts, felt he was bigger than the club and those in charge by the time he left.
Perhaps time has mellowed tempers and repaired any rifts, but with chemistry and the team unit at the forefront of Ivan Cleary’s revolution, I wouldn’t be risking that to bring in a hooker stuck in the final throes of his career.
Do you think the Wests Tigers should take a gamble and bring Robbie Farah back to the club for the rest of 2018? Let us know in the comments and poll below.