The fairytale farewell looks unlikely. Photo: Phil Hillyard
The fairytale farewell looks unlikely. Photo: Phil Hillyard

Farah’s secret session to beat broken leg

A clandestine training session at a suburban park in Sydney's inner west will determine whether Wests Tigers star Robbie Farah makes a remarkable recovery from a broken leg to play against Cronulla at Leichhardt Oval.

Farah ran at a private session on Monday afternoon, well away from the prying media, in a desperate attempt to prove his fitness for a game which will determine whether the Tigers play finals footy.

Farah also visited his specialist and has scans.

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Aware his training session would have become a media circus, The Tigers shift Farah's training session to a nondescript suburban ground to avoid the media circus that would have engulfed Leichhardt Oval or Concord Oval.

The move was reminiscent of Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk undergoing a private training session at a suburban ground on Sydney's lower north shore to play in last year's grand final with a shoulder injury.

Farah - who fractured a tibia against Canterbury in round 21 - will decide on Tuesday morning whether he could play on Sunday based on how he pulls up after Monday's training run.

He will meet with Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire before the team is formally announced by the club at 4pm.


The fairytale farewell looks unlikely. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The fairytale farewell looks unlikely. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Maguire is unlikely to play mind games with his line-up ahead such an important match.

One source close to the club said if Farah hasn't recovered he won't be named.

If he is a genuine chance of playing, Farah will be named in the starting squad and not as a reserve.

"To be honest, I'm not quite sure where he is at,'' Maguire said on Monday.

"I just don't know. I will get all the information and sit down with him (this morning) and go through it.

"We will have to weigh up a lot of things around where he feels he is at and where the doctor feels he is at. It's as simple as that.

"I don't see the point in all that (media games). I may name him and if someone falls apart, then it would be a complete long shot to play him."


Maguire won’t gamble the club’s finals hopes. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Maguire won’t gamble the club’s finals hopes. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

The Tigers are also bullish about their chances against the Sharks, which would mean Farah could return the following week - after another seven days of recovery - for his club's finals appearance.

Farah said Maguire may not want to change a winning combination.

"Will have to pass all the protocols in place and I'm yet to speak with Madge (coach Michael Maguire) about it, to be honest,'' Farah told The Daily Telegraph via text message.

"Boys are going well so he might not want to change things!"

The feeling around Concord is that Farah is more unlikely than likely to play.

Most agree a return to the NRL from a fractured leg after just four weeks would be an extraordinary recovery.

Teammate Benji Marshall said at the weekend that "only Robbie 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."

The equation is simple.

Whoever wins the Wests Tigers-Sharks match at a sold-out Leichhardt Oval will advance to the finals. The loser can start planning Mad Monday.

If ruled out, Maguire may again name Ryan Matterson at hooker although Benji Marshall and Josh Reynolds have been playing dummy half in Farah's absence.

Reynolds will play his 150th NRL this Sunday.