Another day, another drama at the Wests Tigers – but prop Marty Taupau believes the team can ride the wave of adversity all the way to the finals.
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Phil Gould and Andrew Webster discuss Robbie Farah, the troubles at the Titans and the big game at the Sydney Cricket Ground this Friday.
The drama surrounding the coach, captain and chief executive over the past fortnight has turned the club's season on its head. It took another twist on Tuesday night when captain Robbie Farah posted a photo on Twitter of the text message he received from the club's media manager giving him the option of missing Monday night's post-match news conference.
While there does not appear to be an end to the controversy at the Tigers in the foreseeable future, Taupau insists the players are confident of overcoming the drama and a tough run home to book a berth in the top eight.
"It's good because everyone is writing us off, just like at the start of the year when everyone thought we were going to get the wooden spoon," Taupau said.
"We have to aim up and play well to come away with the win this year. I don't reckon we've peaked as well. We still have a lot of potential and a lot of things to show, but because of the injuries it's making it hard for us. I believe we can still make the top eight. Everyone is saying we've got a tough run home, but it's a mind game. If you let those comments get to you, you might as well not play."
Taupau defended Farah's decision to miss Monday night's news conference, adamant Keith Galloway deserved to front the media after reaching a significant milestone in his career.
"Everyone was blowing up about Farah not doing the press conference, but it was a big occasion for Keith Galloway because it was his 150th [game]," Taupau said. "It was a good thing he fronted the media. I understand Keith Galloway doing it because it was his 150th, so I don't know what everyone is going on about."
Five-eighth Blake Austin, who has been one of their best players in recent weeks, said the team was united. There was a suggestion some members of the squad were frustrated with Farah because of the soap opera that has engulfed their season, but Austin insists the players had the back of their skipper.
"We back our captain 100 per cent and we back our coach [Mick Potter]," Austin said. "It's not what it is being portrayed to be. We're a happy bunch, we stick solid and we're just working hard to getting 80-minute performances out. We're a young team and that's what we're working towards. We back [Robbie] 100 per cent. There's no one that's going to lead this team to the future, and no one that's going to do a better job than Robbie. We trust that whatever decision he makes will be best for the team and we just support him."
The Tigers will be fighting to keep their season alive when they travel to Townsville to take on the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Taupau insists the drama surrounding the club won't serve as a distraction. "It's been OK. There are a lot of distractions but as a playing group we stay clear of the media and social media," he said. "We just come out and play football. The only thing that is affecting us is our injuries. I think we only have two proper backs left – that's the only thing affecting us. At the end of the day Robbie's here to lead us and play good football. He's performed well the last couple of weeks so it goes to show that it hasn't affected him at all. It would be hard for anyone, but it comes with playing football. It's pretty tough."