Robbie Farah is pleased to be finishing his career where it started 16 seasons ago. Picture: Wests Tigers
Robbie Farah is pleased to be finishing his career where it started 16 seasons ago. Picture: Wests Tigers

Farah backs protege to take Tigers No. 9 jersey

ROBBIE Farah has declared 2019 will most likely be his last season but he isn't worried if the Wests Tigers' next generation take his starting hooker position.

After revealing he was a fortnight off retiring while languishing in reserve grade last year, a grateful Farah is just pleased to finish his career where it started at the Tigers 16 seasons ago.

It's why the veteran hooker says he'll happily sit on the bench to give rising No. 9 Jacob Liddle a chance to start.

"I'd love to see nothing more than for Jacob to come through and force me out of first grade," Farah said.

"I've been working really closely with him this pre-season and he is a great kid.

"He is willing to learn and he works hard. He has put on four or five kilos and I've been working hard with him on the wrestling mats trying to get him physically ready for a big season.

"We are really pushing each other at training and I'm trying to impart some of my knowledge on to him.

"I've really seen him grow, so hopefully he is in for a big season."

Jacob Liddle is pushing Robbie Farah for the Wests Tigers No. 9 jersey. Picture: AAP
Jacob Liddle is pushing Robbie Farah for the Wests Tigers No. 9 jersey. Picture: AAP

Farah credits his team-first mindset to new Tigers coach Michael Maguire.

He said his former South Sydney mentor has encouraged him and fellow statesman Benji Marshall to set strong examples for the rest of the squad.

"Madge sees Benji and me as two important leaders who can pass on our knowledge to the kids coming through and hopefully leave a lasting legacy," he said.

"Whilst we've got an important role to play on the field, I think Benji and I are at a point in our careers where we know we can really shape the culture of the club for sustained success long after we've moved on and retired.

"We both have that strong affiliation with the club and it means the world to us to finish our careers here under Madge."

Robbie Farah with coach Michael Maguire. Picture: Wests Tigers
Robbie Farah with coach Michael Maguire. Picture: Wests Tigers

Farah said Maguire has also made a significant impact on the entire club.

The premiership-winning Souths coach and self-confessed fitness fanatic regularly partakes in training or gym sessions.

Farah believes this hands-on approach has inspired the playing group to dig deeper.

"The boys have really responded well to Madge's coaching style," he said.

"He lives and breathes that (training) and he has been awesome since day one.

"I thought it was a great appointment by the club.

"I obviously worked with Madge at the Rabbitohs and he is a man that genuinely cares about the club and each individual.

"As tough as our pre-season has been, all the guys will tell you they've thoroughly enjoyed it.

"Madge's style is really rubbing off on the playing group and I'm really excited about the things he is putting in place to ensure the club can have long-term success."

Farah and Marshall are now the elder statesmen. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
Farah and Marshall are now the elder statesmen. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Farah probably won't be at the Tigers beyond this season but it doesn't mean he is any less motivated.

At 35, he knows he is no longer a fresh-faced rookie but he says 16 seasons of experience has made him smarter.

Farah has replaced a five kilometre run on his day off with regular pool work to lower his loads while he refuses to eat anything out of a packet when it comes to his diet.

"The older you get the more you understand your body and what you need on a personal level to get yourself ready every week," he said.

"Something I've prided myself on right through my career is that you need to train at a high level every day and be consistent.

"You have to strive every day to become better. That is something I try and continue to do.

"Plus, you've got these young kids coming through.

"They are yapping away at your heels and you've got to make sure that you can compete with them every day."