Media speculation over the future of Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter and his relationship with club captain Robbie Farah has led to angry rebuttals from both men in the post-match press conference after their side's 28-12 loss to the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Former Kangaroos captain Gorden Tallis suggested on Triple M – where he is now employed – that Farah had said last year that Potter was not up to coaching in the NRL, while there were also several reports that Potter was to be given the sack at the conclusion of the game following a board meeting.
Channel 9 also showed the pair going into a private room for a 20 minute pre-game discussion in the sheds.
Farah conceded after the loss that the morning's speculation had affected him during the match.
"It affected me, but we have to be stronger than that as leaders," he said.
"Myself and Mick are leading the group and I guess I can't show that it is affecting us, and we just have to get on with the job.
"Unfortunately, as Mick said, we had our chances in the first half but we just let ourselves down with our execution, our last tackle options let them off the hook. In the second half we started well and got back into the game but unfortunately it wasn't enough. As a playing group we have tried to block it out but obviously it is pretty difficult.
"We did our best to get on with the job and play footy."
But asked to comment about what Tallis had said earlier in the day, Farah was clearly angry.
"I'm not happy about it and he knows I'm not happy about it," Farah said.
"It is completely false – I don't have to sit here and justify myself and Mick's relationship. We have a job to lead this club and we’re doing the best we can. Some people have to go out and get their facts right before they run their mouth."
Farah had also been criticised for failing to publicly throw his support behind the coach, but the skipper said past lessons had shown players should stay out of getting involved in that sort of thing publicly.
"Mick has the support of the full playing group and will continue to have the support of the playing group, that has never been an issue," Farah said.
"Mick knows that and the players know that. We have got on with business as we showed last week. Unfortunately we didn't get the job done this week but nothing changes for us."
He said while it is a distraction, it is not something for the players to involve themselves in.
"It is a distraction when players get involved in those sort of things, it is not for us to worry about, it has happened in the past and as a playing group and senior players we have spoken about it and the only way we can ensure Mick's position is to win footy games, and that is what we have been trying to do and that is what we have been trying to focus on."
He said the current situation "hasn't been good for anyone."
Potter said the pre-game chat with Farah highlighted by Channel 9 was to address how the media speculation was affecting Farah, but insisted the conversation was private.
"Robbie, I thought, had a really good game and tried his ring out for the club and the team and he has proven he is a leader of a group of men," Potter said.
Asked if fans had a right to know what the talk was about, Potter said "it can't be everyone's business, it needs to be a private thing between me and Robbie."
He also stressed he didn't want to take away from the fact the Dragons had played a really good game of football and come up with good plans that they had executed well.
Pressed on the speculation surrounding his position, Potter said he wouldn't comment further, and would call an early end to the press conference if the focus didn't return to on-field matters.