Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah is determined to play through the pain of a torn AC joint to help his teammates out for a crucial Leichhardt Oval clash against Penrith before he again departs for Origin duty and a Suncorp Stadium decider next week.
Farah said he got through a ballwork session (but no contact) on Wednesday and is definitely right to take his place on Sunday.
"I was keen to play last Friday against Manly even though I was really sore," Farah said on Thursday.
"The pain is something you can control; once you get the needle the pain is OK."
However the club doctor and coach Jason Taylor weren’t keen on him playing as there is a risk of infection when you get two painkilling injections so close together, after he had been needled up just two days earlier for the Blues' 26-18 win over Queensland at the MCG.
Despite the seriousness of the tear, a slight upside is the injury can't really be made any worse by playing with it, he said.
"It’s more restrictive in the gym and out at training. I’ve got a grade three which means I’ve ruptured all the ligaments – they're all torn, I can’t make it any worse. It’s just the swelling and bleeding after every game," he said.
"It will be one of those things I have to manage. I’m not the first person to play with an AC injury. The big thing is how quickly I came back."
Surgery may be an option at the end of the season depending on how the injury recovers but for now Farah is determined to just get on with things.
"You can leave it as it is and it will kind of heal... As long as I can regain the strength in the shoulder, I’ll get on with it but if I’m still having issues we’ll discuss surgery [after the season]," he said.
Having got through 80 minutes of Origin three weeks after first hurting his shoulder, Farah had no doubts that a further 11 days on he could get through an NRL game. Farah was even more determined to play given the game is at Leichhardt and he missed the previous Leichhardt game – a disappointing 27-20 loss to the Titans in Round 13.
"I was filthy I missed the last game at Leichhardt, we need the two points. It’s a massive game for us," he said.
Farah's teammates were relieved to have him back for the must-win game on Sunday too.
"It's awesome [the work he's done to get back]. He's the captain and ultimate professional," Chris Lawrence said.
"We can see the work that he's done with his rehab to get back to Origin and then post-Origin to get back with us. It's really impressive."
Farah's NSW and Tigers teammate Aaron Woods added: "It's good mate, he was filthy [to miss the Manly game].
"I think he missed the last Leichhardt game we played and the way we've been going we've been up and down all year so we just need to put an 80 minute performance on and to have someone like Robbie come back it's a massive boost for us."
Halfback Luke Brooks said as the club captain, Farah's efforts to get back on the field came as no surprise.
"That's what we expect of him," Brooks said.
"Whenever we see him at training and he's got an injury he's always working hard. As soon as he did it, he was in here working on his shoulder.
"It's definitely a big boost for us having him back."