With over a decade of no finals games for the Wests Tigers, the man who last captained them in one believes the club is heading towards its former glories.
Speaking in his very open and in-depth interview with WestsLife podcast, Robbie Farah believes bringing back players from the 2005 grand final squad or those part of the 2010 and 2011 finals campaigns, as well as the coach who took them there is going a long way towards that.
“There’s no secret from me, I think the club lost its identity there for a few years,” Farah told us.
“I think we’re slowly starting to get that back. We’ve got Tigers people getting back involved, Sheensy’s back, Benji’s back, Patty Richards, Chris Lawrence, all these guys that are part of the Tigers fabric.”
Farah believes a lot of on field success is going to come from the improvement he can see by the Wests Tigers behind the scenes.
“Off the field we are getting our ducks in order,” Farah said.
“We’ve got the Centre of Excellence which should be ready in a few months. I think we’ve made some really good signings moving forward, next year with Api (Koroisau) and Isaiah Papali’i coming on board. We have some new kids we saw some development last year like Stefano (Utoikamanu), Daine Laurie, Shawn Blore who unfortunately is going to miss this whole season with the knee. Adam Doueihi as well, I thought he became a leader last year…so there’s a lot of positive signs at the club.
“It’s not a quick fix. I think everyone has to be realistic about that as well, but in my opinion there’s no doubt we’re heading in the right direction.”
A major change off the field for the Wests Tigers in 2022 is the return of Farah’s premiership winning coach Tim Sheens.
“Sheensy is part of the fabric of the club,” Farah said.
“Coach of the only premiership we’ve won. He brings a wealth of knowledge and he’s got an aura about him and has a lot of respect in the game. So to have him back in the club I think is awesome for us.
“He really hasn’t been on field in terms of training, you only sort of see him popping around in the background, but his job at the moment is in terms of the recruitment, the pathways and development of our juniors.
“I think we’re making big strides there as a club. We’re really putting a lot of work into our pathways. We’ve got a really big junior base out west and around Balmain and we’ve got to make sure that we’re making sure that we’re holding onto the best players and coming through. Making sure that they grow up wanting to play for the Tigers like I did and like Benji did, Bryce Gibbs, Liam Fulton and Dene Halatau. For us we not only wanted to play first grade, we wanted to play first grade for the Tigers and I think we’ve got to get that back in the club. Where our local juniors get back to where they want to pull on the black, gold and white jersey and play their careers at the Tigers.
“We’ve seen too many Tigers juniors go on to other clubs and further their career. Where really they should be doing it in our colours.”
Listen to the full interview with Robbie Farah now on the WestsLife podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Podbean.