Titans know Farah's return to Leichhardt Oval will lift Tigers
Gold Coast Titans are wary of the "Farah Factor" at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday when they walk into a venue set to be boosted by the expected return of Wests Tigers' prodigal son Robbie Farah.
Not only will the Titans walk into Farah's return match provided he is selected first-up by Tigers coach Ivan Cleary, it will be a unique match not just for them, but for the NRL as well.
Farah returns to the club from which he was shown the door amid controversy in 2016 while Moses Mbye will play his first match in the black and gold after his mid-season transfer from the Canterbury Bulldogs.
That means the pair will have played their final game for their previous clubs against the Titans and their "first" match for their new club against the Titans as well.
The Titans have played South Sydney with Farah at hooker (round 14), the Bulldogs with Mbye at fullback (round 15) and now the Tigers in round 16 with both players lining up against them for a second time. Farah did not play for the Rabbitohs in round 15.
Yet while Mbye will be a threat in the backs, it is the wily Farah that the Titans must prepare for.
"I'm sure the fans there suffered an emotional toll when he was shown the door so I'm sure all the diehard Tigers fans will be out there cheering for them and particularly welcoming him [Farah] home," Titans centre Dale Copley said on Monday.
"He was a very important part of the club for a very long time and played a big part in their 2005 premiership.
"He's definitely still a threat on the field. He was playing behind probably the form hooker of the competition in Damien Cook at Souths, so the fact he wasn't getting a run there was more a reflection of how Cook was going, not Robbie Farah.
"He'll be very keen to get back to playing regular first-grade football and particularly at the Tigers, a club that would mean a lot to him considering the time he spent there.
"He's a crafty number nine who has seen it all and offers a kicking game out of dummy half on the left foot and he will provide some threats that will be new to the Tigers."
Titans fullback Michael Gordon says that while it is rare to be playing Farah and Mbye in different jerseys in the same month, it just shows what rugby league is all about these days with the number of playing transfers after the Telstra Premiership has begun.
He is wary of the Tigers' form and enthusiasm they have displayed before the return of Farah came into the mix.
"I'm sure the hill will be full and the crowd will be very vocal; they always are at Leichhardt," he said.
"They're a tough team in good form as it is, but then Farah comes back and there's an extra element of emotion to it now.
"I feel we have been building well I the past four to six weeks and it's been little lapses in games here and there that have costs us the results that we have wanted.
"But I feel we're building to where we want to go, and this will be a good test for us, coming off the bye.
"We know we will be a better team at the back end of the year than the start and it’s going that way but results are becoming more crucial now."
Wests Tigers are two points ahead of the Titans on the competition ladder and will be desperate for a victory to stay in touch with the top eight.