Maroons greats predict Farah's return

He owns one of the most heroic stories of Origin folklore and former Queensland great Trevor Gillmeister says Wednesday night's State of Origin decider is too big an occasion for Blues hooker Robbie Farah not to play.

Farah gave New South Wales greater hope that he will play in Game Three just seven days after surgery on his right hand when he took part in Saturday's training session in Coffs Harbour sans bandage and completing some catching, passing and kicking drills.

The Blues have Michael Ennis in camp as cover should Farah be unable to take his place in the side but a host of former Queensland legends believe it will be Farah who wears the No.9 jersey onto Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

 

As Queensland greats and the squad for Game Three mixed with a select group of Maroon Members at a specially convened fan day at Jupiters Hotel and Casino on Saturday, Gillmeister said the opportunity to play in a decider at Suncorp Stadium would be too significant for Farah to miss.

Gillmeister famously defied doctors orders and left his hospital bed so that he could lead the Maroons in Game Three of the 1995 series and said he expects Farah to write his own unique chapter of Origin history on Wednesday.

"You don't get to play in too many deciders, especially at Suncorp. He'll be doing his best to play and I'd be surprised if he didn't," Gillmeister told NRL.com.

"It's a tough one because you don't want to let your team down but you still want to get out there and play and make sure you play the best you can.

"You don't know in Origin how many times you'll get that chance so you don't want to miss it either."

Jharal Yow Yeh scored two tries in his three Origin appearances in 2011 and was also of the opinion that the match is too important for Farah to sit it out.

"I reckon he'll play. It's too big a game for him not to play," Yow Yeh said.

"When it comes to a game like this, you just get through the week the best you possibly can and you just train as though you're going to play. And then if you don't come out on Wednesday and play you don't come out and play, it's as simple as that.

"He's too much of a big asset for them to lose for him not to play. I reckon the boys have got their head around him playing just because he is such a threat but they'll be covering all bases."

Petero Civonceva had missed a month of football with a knee injury heading into Game One of the 2004 series and admitted that he had doubts as to whether he was physically ready for the incredible demands an Origin game places on players' bodies.

While Farah has been at the centre of the Blues' concerns, the Maroons have had to nurse injuries to Josh Papalii, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, Darius Boyd and Matt Scott in the early days of camp and Civoniceva says it is a risk to take injured players into a decider.

"It's a big decision for NSW to make. Do they risk a Farah or go with Michael Ennis," said Civoniceva, who played 33 matches for Queensland.

"Obviously there are some risks with playing Robbie that no doubt could be exposed on Wednesday night and similarly with running Mick Ennis. He hasn't played Origin for a little while and coming in for such a massive game...

"The great thing about Origin preparation is that you're very much isolated in that you're only around the team so in terms of getting that medical attention that you need to try and fast-track something that is a bit dodgy, the Origin environment lends well to that. 

"I injured my knee back in 2004 and hadn't played for five weeks and my first game back was an Origin game.

"There was a lot of self doubt because to be playing at that level and that intensity with having five weeks off was a big risk I thought. But after I had that chat to the coach and the medical staff they believed everything was sweet and I once I had their belief I was away."

Former Maroons winger Willie Carne believes that if Farah does take the field on Wednesday night it will rank alongside Gillmeister's as one of the great recoveries in Origin history.

"I wasn't there but when 'Gilly' came out of hospital in 1995; you could write a movie about that stuff and Robbie's hand could be the same thing," Carne said.

"I rate him as a footy player and I think he's a good bloke so good on him." 

Video courtesy nswrl.com.au