"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.