Tigers switch focus to Dwyer tribute night
Wests Tigers veteran Dene Halatau says Simon Dwyer's tribute dinner and game will be a welcome distraction after a tumultuous week at the club.
The club has organised a function for former player Simon Dwyer in a bid to raise funds to help him recover from a career-ending injury that has left him paralysed in his right arm.
Dwyer last played in 2011 and has since worked for the club in a statistics role. Halatau hoped Friday night's sellout dinner in Campbelltown – as well as the recent re-signing of young forwards Sitaleki Akauola and Ava Seumanufagai – will take the focus off what has been a difficult week at Concord.
"Obviously we've actually got a dinner on Friday night for Simon, a fundraising dinner, and then the tribute game with $5," he said.
"The Tigers are contributing $5 from every ticket sold to every person through the gate to Simon's cause. And the NRL's agreed to match it as well with $5 of their own. So the more people we can get out to the game, the better. It's definitely a good distraction."
Akauola, who has played seven games since debuting last season, signed on for a further two years, while Seumanufagai re-committed for an extra season.
"We've also had two boys re-sign this week in Sitaleki and Ava Seumanufagai. So it's good to have those things happening," he said.
"And I think Meriton have agreed to stay on for another year as well as a major sponsor. There's some good things happening around the club at the moment which'll hopefully be enough to overshadow the other stuff."
Three days after he was accused of throwing his coach under the bus, the soap opera surrounding skipper Robbie Farah continued on Wednesday when he failed to join his teammates for training.
"I was more than happy for Robbie to have today off training considering the circumstances," coach Mick Potter said. "He will return later in the week."
Farah was accused by former player Gorden Tallis last week of saying Potter couldn't coach, a claim that the NSW hooker was aggrieved with.
"I could see that he was distracted by it or it had affected him. As a mate, it was concerning for me," Halatau said.
"When you prepare for a game, you get in your headspace, it's a very processed thing. And to see someone like Robbie who's very professional and he's pretty thick-skinned, to be a bit rattled by it, I was concerned for him.
"But he came out on the weekend and played a pretty good game. He ran for nearly 180 metres as a hooker which is pretty impressive, and scored a try."
Halatau said he was confident Farah would overcome the drama and be ready to take his place with the team for Monday's clash against Melbourne.
"He does hold things pretty hard, but he also loves competing and being a fighter. And I know that overrides everything. I know he'll get over it," Halatau said.
"He'll take his own time obviously, but once he gets on the field and he repeats what he does last weekend, then he'll be fine. Hopefully everything dies down and we start winning some games and it's all forgotten about in two or three months' time."