NSW hooker Robbie Farah silenced many of his critics with a strong performance in the opening Origin encounter, but says it was meaningless without a victory.
The Blues rake went into the opening game at Etihad Stadium under intense scrutiny, both from the media and former players, but he was one of the state’s best in a losing effort.
Despite the confidence taken out of the performance, Farah believes he has to prove he is an Origin player every time he takes the field.
While it sounds like the old cliché of ‘taking it a week at a time’, there is a conviction in Farah’s words. He knows the pain of being dropped and the pain of losing Origin. Farah played two games for the Blues in 2009 before he was axed. He has worked hard to force his way back into the NSW side and he is not resting on one good performance.
Farah is in it for the long haul and desperately wants to be a part of the new era.
A successful Blues era.
“Definitely I do (take confidence out of Origin I),” he told NRL.com.
“But I can’t be living off game one forever. Every time you pull on that Origin jumper you have to go out and prove you are an Origin player.
“I’ll be looking to do that next week.”
Farah is not your traditional hooker. At the Wests Tigers, he is a playmaker, a decision maker, a driving force and a proud club man. He defends his players and his club with staunch enthusiasm. It is that mentality that makes him ideal for Origin.
His passion for the game and the Blues’ cause should never be questioned. His performance in game one showed he is every bit an Origin player as well.
Farah wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t back down. It might be the reason he has watched the loss to Queensland in game one at Etihad Stadium more than once in its entirety. Looking and probing for any areas the Blues could have done better. In reality, he was looking for anything he could have done better.
“I watched the game back on my own, then we watched the game back with Ricky and a couple of the players,” he states matter of factly.
“We looked at what we thought we did well and the areas we thought we could improve. It helps that we have looked at it and then put it to bed.
“Coming into camp we know the direction that we need to go in and the areas we need to improve. It is up to the players to drive that.
“In Origin football, you don’t get many opportunities. When you do, you have to take advantage of them. In game one we probably didn’t; we had a lot of the possession and a lot of the ball, but failed to capitalise and turn that into points. Especially in Origin football, you have to make the most of the opportunities that you get.”
You sense Farah knows that feeling better than most. For all NSW’s efforts and possession in game one, Farah was the only Blue to run the ball over the line. And how close he came to scoring.
Winning Origin comes down to big plays and as the Blues know all too well, it literally can come down to a matter of inches.
How many times has Farah agonized over his run that had him narrowly held up over the line? Or Brett Stewart, who was a fraction of a second late in grounding the ball behind Queensland forward Sam Thaiday?
These are the big Origin moments that change the record books and they are over in the blink of an eye.
“It is all about the little efforts,” Farah says.
“There were little things in the game that had big results. Little minor details can make a big difference in those games.
“Without changing too much, there are little areas that we think we can improve.
“[We have] a lot of belief and confidence, even though we lost the game and we were disappointed, we know that there are only small things that we need to change to improve and change the result around.”
At some point in time doing the little things right was a novel idea that won football games, now it is considered overused and cliché. But perhaps it might just be the answer NSW need to finally overcome Queensland.
To do that, they need to win game two. Where Farah will be striving to prove once again, that he is an Origin player.
One week at a time indeed…
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