Farah not getting Origin hopes up
Despite a perfectly-timed starring role for South Sydney barely a week out from the naming of teams for State of Origin I, long serving Blues hooker Robbie Farah says if he doesn't get picked he won't hold any grudges.
Farah's 16-game interstate career looked like it could well be over given another series loss last year and his demotion to the bench for Souths in recent weeks, coupled with the club's recent poor run of form and the re-emergence of key hooking rival Nathan Peats from injury.
But an 80-minute masterpiece in which he controlled proceedings beautifully and repeatedly took excellent options out of dummy-half has reignited his claims for retention by Blues coach Laurie Daley.
Speaking after the 28-8 win in which he laid on two tries and made 37 tackles with 194 kick metres, Farah gave the impression he wasn't strongly expecting to be at Suncorp Stadium on May 31.
"It doesn't matter what I think [about my performance]," Farah said.
"I don't really think I've got anything to prove to be honest. I think my past performances at rep level, Laurie and the selectors will know what they're going to get from me."
"It will come down to the style of dummy-half and the game plan the selectors are looking for", he added, but if given the nod, "I'll definitely put my hand up and do the best job I can for this state."
"No one is entitled or has the right to an Origin jumper and if the day comes that I don't get picked I can't have any complaints," Farah said.
"I've loved every minute of playing 16 games for NSW and I won't hold any grudges if I'm not there.
"I'll remember all the good things and the good times. If I am there I'd love the opportunity to keep going.
"That's not my call, all I can control is the way I play and it was pleasing to play 80 minutes and get a good performance under my belt."
The match was Farah's first start since Round 4 and first 80-minute game since Round 1 so to get through 80 minutes, play the way he wanted to and earn the win was a big confidence boost, however.
"It was just good to play that way as a team after a pretty embarrassing performance [losing 46-8] against Manly two weeks ago," he said.
"We had to wait two weeks to kind of get a shot to redeem ourselves. I got told pretty early on in the piece that I'd be starting. I'm a hooker that likes to build my game in the middle of the park and I felt like I did that tonight and I felt like I controlled things in the middle."
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire praised Farah's effort as "really strong".
"His experience definitely shone through the middle and he came up with some good try assists there but it's the little things around the game that both he and 'Cookie' (Damien Cook) are working really hard at so they complement each other."
The opportunity for Farah to play 80 minutes was nothing to do with providing him with an Origin audition and purely what was best for the club based on how the game played out, Maguire added.
"I didn't plan to play him 80 [minutes] but I thought the way the game went and the way Robbie was playing, he was in good control around what he was doing out there and I felt it was the right thing to do tonight," he said.
"It's not up to me whether he gets picked [for Origin] but I've been very pleased and I know our players have been with having Robbie on board with us.
"His experience is very valuable to us and I think it showed tonight where he just guided the team around the park and stuck to the plan. I'm sure if he keeps performing then the selectors will be looking at that position."
In a stark contract to Round 1, when all the hype was around the long-serving Tiger coming up against his former club and the coach who ousted him in Jason Taylor, the build-up was much more muted this time.
"It's a bit of a different team now and the coach isn't there anymore. I still hold great memories of my time there and I'm still in contact with a lot of the boys," Farah said.
"While it was good to get a win, regardless of the opposition we had a point to prove after a pretty embarrassing 40 point loss to Manly. We wanted to bounce back and it was pleasing that we did tonight."
There looked to be a little bit of spite on the field when Farah's former teammate Ava Seumanufagai was sin-binned for aiming a punch at Farah's head but the pair were seen laughing and joking together after the game and Farah insisted there were no hard feelings.
"It was all good. I didn't even know he had a swing!" Farah laughed.
"It was a bit out of character for Ava. We're good mates and had a bit of a chuckle about it after the game."