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Robbie Farah takes aim at Wests Tigers management as club crisis hits rock bottom

Date

Chief Sports Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald

View more articles from Andrew Webster

"People always come to me for answers. I just want to play football. They need to go to the decision makers": Robbie Farah.

"People always come to me for answers. I just want to play football. They need to go to the decision makers": Robbie Farah. Photo: Getty Images

The poisoned relationship between Robbie Farah and club management has reached rock bottom with revelations he hasn't spoken to chief executive Grant Mayer in almost a fortnight and accusations those "at the top" at the Wests Tigers are leaking to the media.

In a stunning interview with Phil Gould on The Footy Show on Channel Nine, Farah said he was furious at being painted as the man who wanted embattled coach Mick Potter sacked. "That's what hurt me the most," Farah said. "I tried to stay of this and not get dragged into it. But I've been embroiled in it when I wanted nothing to do with it."

Farah also revealed he:

  • Told Potter in the heat of the moment he wanted to give up the captaincy, as well as possibly walking away from the Tigers;
  • Received heavy abuse from Tigers fans as he was accused of trying to undermine Potter and having too much influence at the joint venture;
  • Admitted he should never have told Gorden Tallis that Potter was "struggling" as coach 15 months ago, which led to Tallis airing those comments on Triple M a fortnight ago;
  • Strongly denied he had played in role in the sacking of former coach Tim Sheens and the departure of star player Benji Marshall in recent years.

The most astonishing part of the interview, in which Farah was speaking for the first time since the emotional loss to the Dragons on July 27, was his complete lack of faith in Mayer and club management. "I haven’t heard from our CEO since the Sunday night after the Dragons game," Farah said.

"I spoke to him after the Gorden comments on the Friday night to come out on the Saturday and strongly to support the players, because we were getting dragged into it ... That's the biggest problem with our club: there are people at the top leaking stuff to the media. I'm not sure why. Whether it’s for their own interests or those Balmain or Wests factions fighting against each other. It doesn’t help when it's leaked, whether it's true or not."

Specifically, Farah is bemused parts of an internal review conducted by former coach Brian Smith had been leaked to sections of the press.

"There was a mid-season review during the Origin period," he said. "I was the last person interviewed after Origin. I was reluctant to get involved in that. I’ve never seen the review, what came of it, none of us have ever heard of it. People always come to me for answers. I just want to play football. They need to go to the decision makers."

Farah then painted his own picture. It was in full support of Potter, the man he has supposedly been trying to have sacked. He said he had been completely up front with the coach since his appointment last year.

"Looking back, I shouldn't have said to Gordie what I said," the captain said. "The club was struggling, the coach was struggling. But I thought it was a private conversation. I can assure you and everyone else, whatever I conveyed to Gordie at the time, I also conveyed it to Mick. Me and Mick have an open and honest relationship. I’m always giving him feedback on how to improve. He’s always giving me feedback on what he needs from me and how I can improve as a captain. There is no issue between us."

Farah branded himself as "weak" for taking time off last week as he struggled to cope with the complexity of the situation, claiming he had let down his younger teammates. "I conveyed that to the boys," he said. "I know I’m stronger than that. They needed a leader. But it would've been worse if I turned up than not being there. I had Tigers fans abusing me. Abuse coming from everywhere. Different articles being written about me. It’s not nice. I’ve been at the club my whole life. I care about this club. To hear those things weren’t nice. That really affected me."

So much so, he had considered walking away. "At times, that’s true," he said. "I thought, 'Is it all worth it?' I messaged Mick and said maybe I’m not the right person to be captain at this point in time ... But I’m not walking away."

Farah also put to bed long-time speculation he had undermined Sheens and Marshall.

36 comments

  • I have never been a fan of Robbie Farah believing his rap was not earned but having read this article I have revised my opinion of the man. I use that term now because I think (looking from the outside) that he has earned recognition as just that. I can understand this man's frustration with old "heat of the moment" comments being broadcast months later and leaks from the top of BS that never happened.
    Good on you , Robbie Farah. Man-up and carry your mates with you. At least now you know who your mates are.

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Port Macquarie
    Date and time
    August 08, 2014, 4:38AM
    • Robbie, you may have upset a handful of fans, but believe me the vast majority of Tiger's fans are behind you 100%. It is the management that stinks, not the players or coach. Grant Mayer has been poison to every club he has been associated with. Hang in there brother.

      Commenter
      petermini
      Location
      Ashbury
      Date and time
      August 08, 2014, 5:07AM
      • Toovs and Bennett are just loving this.

        Commenter
        Foont
        Location
        Newcastle
        Date and time
        August 08, 2014, 5:48AM
        • It's about time this guy was shown the door. Surely no other Club would want the disruption that Farah creates.

          Commenter
          dickrob
          Location
          Goulburn.
          Date and time
          August 08, 2014, 6:33AM
          • Rubbish. Robbie's not the one creating it, there's no evidence for that, none. It's a joint venture that never bedded down, and has never had enough money, especially the Balmain side. That's the source of all the friction.

            Commenter
            rozelle rudy
            Date and time
            August 08, 2014, 7:37AM
          • yeah, there's no evidence that he's been creating any of this. No evidence that he didn't front for a media conference, no evidence that he arrived and left by different points to his team-mates, no evidence that he is still banging on about this issue weeks after it should have been put to bed.

            Commenter
            Phat
            Date and time
            August 08, 2014, 12:05PM
        • If you cared for your club Robbie you would have kept your mouth shut and not complain about your GM to another GM. Instead you are still causing headlines by speaking. Strange behaviour considering you keep saying you just want to play football without attention from the media.

          Commenter
          Piped Piper
          Date and time
          August 08, 2014, 6:35AM
          • he did keep his mouth shut - until they hung him out to dry as the bad guy. then he defended himself - rightly so.

            Commenter
            Farahsupporter
            Location
            QLD
            Date and time
            August 08, 2014, 7:58AM
        • Can't imagine this scenario at any other club. Well, maybe Parra...

          Commenter
          mutt
          Date and time
          August 08, 2014, 6:42AM
          • Agree, but Parra seem to be somewhat turning it around. With the lingering West -v- Balmain factions I can't see unity in the Tigers ranks for some time. Having self-interested players doesn't help this at all.

            Commenter
            Mike
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            August 08, 2014, 9:08AM

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