Farah won't feel guilty if Wests Tigers upset Rabbitohs
Robbie Farah was the last player at ANZ Stadium after the Rabbitohs knocked over the Eels a month ago.
He was waiting around nervously to speak with coach Anthony Seibold, knowing a story linking him with a return to the Wests Tigers was about to appear on the back page of The Sydney Morning Herald the next day.
"I started getting a few texts that the rumour was getting out," Farah said leading into his first match against the Rabbitohs this Saturday at the same venue.
"It was in the middle of that Thursday night game against Parra and I was concerned because I didn't want Seebs to hear it from anyone else. So I waited around after the game and had a chat with him in the sheds. I was really nervous about it.
"I formed a pretty good relationship with Seebs in his time there. We had a really honest and up-front relationship. Part of me felt that by leaving or asking to leave I let him down."
At the time, nothing had been finalised. Farah didn't even know if the Tigers would offer him a contract.
Farah, who will play his 250th game for the Wests Tigers this week, wasn't sure what reaction Seibold would have when told about his meeting with Ivan Cleary.
"He appreciated me telling him face to face," Farah said.
"He just reiterated to me that he gave me his word at the start of the year and I still had his blessing to leave. He thought it would be good for me. We had a discussion early in the year about it. He knew I found myself in tough position being stuck there behind Cooky (Damien Cook) in reserve grade.
"No one wants to finish their career fizzling out in reserve grade. They knew how proud and competitive I am as a person.
"He told me he wouldn't stand in my way. He said if it was to be a back-up somewhere else he wouldn't let me go. But he still believed I was a regular NRL contributor and if that opportunity arose he wouldn't stand in my way. He understood the emotional attachment I had with the Tigers and I told him I wouldn't leave for any other club. He totally agreed and fully understood."
In the following days Farah would speak to the Rabbitohs senior players. He spoke to Greg Inglis, John Sutton and Sam Burgess.
But as it looked more and more likely that he would be returning to Tiger Town, Farah began to feel guilty.
"I didn't want him or the boys to think I was abandoning them," Farah said.
"While I was excited to play NRL at the Tigers, I felt I was letting Seebs and the playing group down. They are a tight bunch of boys there. And while they understood why I wanted to leave, I think their preference was for me to stay. Things had changed since Seebs and I had the chat. Souths were going really well. They are a big chance at winning the premiership this year and were well within their rights to keep me.
"I was their insurance for Cooky if he was to go down. I would have stepped in. I began to second-guess myself and whether they would let me go, but they supported it."
The morning the Tigers announced his signing, Farah went into South Sydney training at Redfern Oval to say his goodbyes.
"I'm a big sook," he said.
"I was crying my eyes out."
First-placed Souths have the chance to take a giant step towards the minor premiership with a win against the Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
But Farah insists he won't feel any guilt in helping his new club to a victory against his generous old side.
"Are you serious?" Farah said.
"They should feel bad if they beat us. They've won nine in a row and are flying at the top of the ladder. We need the win more than them.
"They are due for a loss. It's good for their season isn't it? You don't want to win too many in a row. A loss is as good a win for you at this time of the year. It'll be a timely loss before the finals."