Farah relishing attack licence and Cook combo
After two straight wins, Rabbitohs hooker Robbie Farah says he is loving the chance to play with attacking freedom while forming a potent dummy-half rotation with livewire rake Damien Cook.
It's no secret the NSW Origin No.9 had his attacking licence revoked during an unhappy final spell at the Wests Tigers but the past fortnight has seen Farah begin to show that along with halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds, fellow Souths dummy-half Cook and now-fullback Alex Johnston the club has the makings of a slick spine.
Speaking to NRL.com after chalking up a win in his 250th NRL game – the first time he has ever been successful in a milestone game – Farah said there was plenty of work to do but the combination is on the right track.
"It's a work in progress – we're continually working on it each week at training and tinkering with different combinations there when 'Cookie' and I are on the field," Farah said.
"We're pretty excited about the possibilities at the moment. We're having a bit of success but we know we can get better as well."
The winning formula over the past two weeks has seen Farah start the game before being replaced by Cook shortly before half-time, with Farah then rejoining the fray for the closing 15 or so minutes of the match with Cook staying on and the pair working in tandem for that period.
"We probably complement each other a bit. I'm a bit of an older head that hopefully can direct us around the park whereas Cookie's got that explosiveness and just raw speed that can really trouble a defence, especially when he's coming on around that 30 minute mark and opposition forward packs are pretty fatigued," Farah said.
"We've both got different skill sets and hopefully we can provide a positive impact for the team playing together."
There has been no confusion over who does what while both are on the field, he added, with Farah generally the main dummy-half and Cook injecting where he sees fit and the pay playing off each other.
"I'm predominantly dummy-half [when we're both on] but we kind of just get on the back of each other and if I go he goes or if he goes I'm on the back of that," Farah said.
"We're still learning each other's games and hopefully that combination improves as the season goes on."
One of the best things for Farah is being given the chance to back his own vision, meaning those speedy darts from dummy-half and short and long kicks are back in his game after being put on the back-burner under old coach Jason Taylor last year.
"Definitely mate, 'Madge' (Maguire) has really backed me and has confidence in me and wants me to showcase my attacking ability there which is really nice," Farah said.
"It's probably a part of my game that hasn't been there in the last couple of years so I'm just looking forward to getting back to the footy that I know I can play."
Of the scrappy 24-18 win over a gutsy Knights outfit in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon, Farah said while it wasn't pretty the two competition points away from home are the main thing.
"I've never won in a milestone game so that's nice but more importantly it's a win that hopefully can springboard out season – although the performance was pretty disappointing," he said.
"It wasn't the prettiest of wins. We made it difficult for ourselves there and we know that we're going to have to be a lot better going into Thursday night against the Roosters.
"It's good to get a win and early on in the year it's all about picking up those two points, it's crucial especially away from home and Newcastle are a footy side that are playing some good footy at the moment.
"They're a committed bunch and really ripping in for each other and we knew coming here it was going to be a tough game but we definitely made things hard for ourselves. At 10-nil up we invited them back into the game and it was a tough battle."