What interesting times we find ourselves in! I never would have thought that this time yesterday, I’d be having to write a blog on the potential departure of Robbie. I’m going to start off by saying that I absolutely believe that right now, it’s what needs to happen and is a good move for the club.
Over the last few weeks, it’s become apparent to me that Farah’s best years are potentially behind him. Over the last three weeks Farah has averaged just 62 run metres, has made 5 errors, 2 penalties and averaged 73 kick metres. To his credit, he has made a bunch of tackles but some of his penalties and errors have come at crucial points of the games and he just looked flat on the weekend. To me it felt like this year was probably the first time that I was willing to admit that it seemed like Farah had made Origin more of a priority than the Club and I think it’s showing at the end of the season.
The illustrious RLW Moley indicated that the decision to move Farah on has been made on more than just Cap reasons. Reading between the lines there is clearly some tension between Farah and JT – and doesn’t that sound familiar? Benji has indicated since leaving that he wasn’t the sole person responsible for Sheens leaving. Farah well and truly started the end of Mick Potter and if he now doesn’t get along with JT, what is that saying about Farah and his leadership qualities? The last thing our young Players need is a toxic leader. If moving Farah on creates a better environment for our cubs, I’m all about it.
The other factor in all of this is young Manaia Cherrington. I’ve been a fan of his for years now, and with Te Maire Martin leaving I told the other BWTF Admins that Cherrington simply had to be retained. He is young, adds spark and has a play style that is very similar to Farah’s. He’s much quicker too. If we weren’t cutting Farah loose now, he still has 2 years to run on his contract. Can you really carry Cherrington as a bench Hooker for 2 years? No chance. If we want a genuine shot at the title in 2017/2018 like I believe we can, it just doesn’t make sense. While I do love Origin, it’s terrible for your Club when the Players come from your key positions and I actually like replacing an Origin hooker with a Non-Origin hooker. No matter how good Cherrington becomes, it’s not going to be an issue for us.
While I’m not entirely sold on Jason Taylor I have been impressed that him and Phil Moss have been able to make these big calls on moving on players like Richards, Galloway, and now Farah with potentially Lawrence to come. People indicating that JT should be sacked seemed to have forgotten that over the last 3 years or so, the only thing that hasn’t changed is our more prominent Players. It’s clear that the squad we have isn’t providing the platform for success and frankly I’m a bit over Coaches being the primary scapegoat when it comes to poor performance. Players are not held accountable for their performances in ways that I think they should be. I’m glad to see some big calls being made instead of plodding along for another 2 years hoping things get better.
With some of the movements that are occurring, should Farah leave (even if the move is subsidised a little bit) should Lawrence also leave, we’re going to have a significant amount of cap space available to play with. While they still have some improving to do, I believe our current spine is actually fine for first grade. Every time that we’ve had a loss this season, I’ve looked at our forward pack. With some exceptions, they just aren’t providing the platform for our kids to do what they need to do. The Broncos are a great comparison. Look at the platform that their forwards lay for Hunt and Milford – I don’t think those halves are that much better than ours. With a better pack we could make some big strides to being a Top 8 team once more. We need to be smart about who we Target, but that’s something that any successful club has to do anyway. I’ve had enough of signing experienced forwards with ‘potential’. Give me genuine performers. Right now I’d be looking at players like Sam Thaiday, Sam Moa and forwards available post 2016. I also think that signing Ballin on a 2 year, cheap deal would be super handy while Cherrington grows with minutes and games under his belt.
All in all, I think that this is a good move for our club. I know that for many of you out there it has been a confusing, frustrating year. While I’m not going to sit here and blow sunshine up your collective arses, no Player is bigger than their Club. I genuinely thank Farah for his service at the club however I do think the time is right for him to move on. It also puts JT in a position where he will have no excuses whatsoever should he fail as a coach. He’d be given the opportunity to shape a roster and with promising talent together with the right recruitment decisions there is nothing to hide behind. Our future is bright and the more hard decisions we can make now, the more prepared the Team will be when it comes to future Finals campaigns in years to come.
This is Sladie, signing out.