Benji Marshall knows Robbie Farah better than most. It comes from winning a premiership together and playing close to 200 NRL games beside each other.
But even Marshall isn't sure if Wests Tigers fans – or the Cronulla Sharks – can expect to see Farah at Leichhardt Oval next Sunday for the top-eight shoot out match.
"Yes and no. It depends… I know he really wants to play and he'll do anything to play," Marshall said after the Wests Tigers over-ran the Dragons seven tries to two at the SCG on Sunday.
"But if he feels like he can't give it his best, and it's going to affect the team, then he won't.
"He's pretty unselfish like that. If he feels like he can do the job 100 per cent he'll be there."
The state or Farah's right leg – or more precisely the crack in the tibia bone – will be a constant source of speculation and analysis this week.
Will the leg he hurt in round 21 against the Bulldogs heal enough for him to play the round 25 game against the Sharks? A win would put the Wests Tigers into the NRL finals.
Despite so much being at stake, Marshall said players had not been bugging Farah at training over the past fortnight for updates on his leg.
Match Highlights: Dragons v Wests Tigers
"We've been trying to avoid what he's doing so it doesn't affect us too much because these last two weeks have been very important," he said of the wins over the Knights and Dragons to keep the top-eight dream alive.
"I'm sure there'll be a lot of focus on him. But again there's no pressure on him to have to play. Only he will know if he can get through it."
Marshall said his teammates had not been using Farah's predicament as motivation to give him one more game at his beloved Leichhardt Oval before he retires.
"It's more about the team and us winning because we want to make the top eight," Marshall said.
"As much as I'd love to see him play his last [Leichhardt Oval] game this week, only he can make that decision.
"If he feels like he can do his job at 100 per cent [he'll play] and if he doesn't feel like that, I know Robbie well enough to say that he won't.
"We love playing at Leichhardt and on a Sunday afternoon that's probably the best time. The atmosphere is pretty hard to beat.
"At the same time you can't rely on that – you still have to go out and win. Cronulla are a good side so I feel like we have to step up our game to beat them."
Maguire: Farah won't put himself forward if he's not right
If Farah is unable to jump the sizeable hurdles to get back on the field this weekend, the recent plan of having Marshall start at hooker and then revert to five-eighth when Josh Reynolds come off the bench late in the first half has worked a treat the past two weeks.
"I get in the game early and control the field position and our attack and take some of that pressure off Luke [Brooks]," Marshall said.
"I feel like that's been working. I actually enjoy it… I have a sore back from bending over so much though!" he joked.
"But usually I'm using my voice around where we go but at No.9 I'm there controlling it. It's up to me whether we go left or right.
"I suppose the good thing is that I can count numbers [in defence] and implement our game plan the way we have to. Then Luke just has to worry about what we do off the back of quick play-the-balls and stuff like that."
The Wests Tigers players did not know the result of the Sharks-Raiders game – held on the same afternoon – which determined if the door to their finals opportunity became a little wider until after their own game finished.
A decision was made for the Wests Tigers players to be oblivious of that result until full-time in the Dragons game. Most thought it was coach Michael Maguire's edict.
"That was mine," Marshall said.
"I've just been in that position before where you can let that dictate the way you play, or have it in the back of your mind.
"I said to the boys on Saturday, let's make a commitment that tomorrow I don't want anyone checking their phones or watching the game or checking the result. Whether the Sharks win or lose, we had to win."