Mourning Farah returns to action for Tigers
GREG PRICHARD AND BRAD WALTER
After a traumatic week in which he farewelled his mother, Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has chosen to play in tonight's game against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
Farah was a late withdrawal from the game against Sydney Roosters last Sunday after his mum, Sonia, died earlier that day following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Her funeral was held on Wednesday and Farah was obviously under no pressure from his club to resume playing until he felt ready.
But Tigers coach Tim Sheens said last night that Farah would take the field against the Knights, adding: ''Robbie trained with the team this morning and then went on the bus with us to Newcastle. I don't really want to say much more other than to confirm he's in the team. He has decided to play and we're happy for him to play. It was always Robbie's choice when to come back.''
The news is not only good for the Tigers, but also for NSW. Farah has so far had a tremendous State of Origin series for the Blues, and at yesterday's announcement of the squad for the series-deciding game at Suncorp Stadium on July 4, coach Ricky Stuart said he thought it would do Farah good to play tonight.
''I personally have never been in that position and never want to be,'' Stuart said. ''I spoke to him yesterday morning and he was still doing it tough, understandably. He is very fortunate that he has got a lot of close friends and family. I hope he does play tomorrow night. I think he needs to get back out on the field and get a game under his belt - not for Origin, but for Robbie.
''He will handle Origin football next week whether he has played a game or not, but ... it would be nice for him to get back out with his mates tomorrow night.
''Robbie is excited about getting back in with the [NSW] boys. What you have to understand is that we have built a very good relationship here over the last five games. Robbie has been involved for two and he is a real big part of the camaraderie and spirit off the field. He has been an incredible asset for the team and the concept of what we are about - our culture. He gives the team a lot of confidence - he gives me a lot of confidence.''
The Tigers were understandably distracted when they played the Roosters, and fell way behind before making a late surge but it wasn't enough to get the win.
Farah's return can be expected to give them an enormous boost going into the game against Newcastle.
Before last weekend's loss, the Tigers won seven games straight. The Knights have only won four games all season and were last-start losers against a Canberra side that were flogged by North Queensland on Saturday.
Newcastle winger Akuila Uate, who was yesterday dropped from the NSW side after making costly mistakes in the first two games of the series, has been bothered by a groin strain recently, but he ran freely at training yesterday and is expected to take his place in the team tonight as the Knights try to end a five-game losing streak.
- Sydney Morning Herald
- (Live Matches)
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