Farah desperate to get back to finals footy
Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah admits it's unlikely his youthful side will challenge for this year's premiership trophy, but still remains hopeful of captaining a more successful side this season under Jason Taylor's watch.
Not since 2011 have the joint venture club tasted finals football, and the club's current longest-serving player spoke this week of his desire to break that drought with a playing style strikingly dissimilar to the Tigers of recent seasons.
"Hopefully a lot different, one that can make the semi-finals. That's the goal, really," Farah said at the club's season launch at Waterview, Bicentennial Park this week.
"We haven't really set goals about where we want to get to at the end of the year, we haven't looked too far ahead. But in terms of myself individually, and you heard [Aaron] Woods speak in there, you miss playing semi-final footy.
"You're sitting at home watching it and you get jealous seeing the big crowds and the hype and the vibe around semi-final footy and that's something that we haven't had in a few years. That's something that we want to get back to doing. We've got to change, we've got to improve on performances of previous years to do that."
"In 2005 I never thought I'd win a premiership, and look how that panned out. You just never know." - Robbie Farah
While making the top eight remains the primary goal for Farah and the Tigers, the 33-year-old was unsure whether his relatively inexperienced team – particularly in some key positions – could go all the way this year.
"I really don't know what we're capable of doing to be honest. It's possible. Is it probable? Probably not, if I'm being honest," he said.
"But who knows? It's not something we've spoken about as a playing group, it's not something that JT's spoken about. We're just trying to learn every day, continue to improve, work hard and we'll see where that gets us.
"In 2005 I never thought I'd win a premiership, and look how that panned out. You just never know. You've just got to give yourself a chance and put yourself in the right position. And that's what we're doing."
While many are excited by the prodigious talents of fullback James Tedesco, five-eighth Mitchell Moses and halfback Luke Brooks, Farah was quick to remind fans that potential did not guarantee success.
"It's an exciting [spine], I wouldn't say it's good at the moment because we haven't achieved anything. There's definitely potential there if we continue to work hard and learn under JT's guidance and the coaching staff, we can definitely fulfil that potential," he said.
"They're an exciting bunch of kids and I'm very happy to have them alongside me to be able to work with them and influence them and guide them throughout their careers – especially in the early part [because] I won't be around for much longer. But hopefully I can instil in them some of the knowledge and experiences that I've had throughout my career and the lessons that I've learnt."
After helping NSW break their Origin drought last season, Farah is now focused on ticking the final box in what has been a decorated 13-year career: captaining his Tigers to a premiership victory.
"It's the most motivating thing for me at the moment," the skipper said. "Obviously I look back and I've ticked a lot of boxes in what I've done, but that's definitely up there with something that still drives me very strongly. Everyone knows how passionate I am about this club. I never take for granted the position that I'm in to captain this club.
"It's something that I love doing and I can think of nothing better than to be able to get us back into, first of all, semi-final footy, and if I had the opportunity to finish my career and captain this side to a premiership, I think that'll do me. I'd probably give it away after that."