Wests Tigers players expect to meet a “fired up” Robbie Farah in their season- opening NRL grudge match against South Sydney on Friday night.
Farah will likely be named as the Rabbitohs starting hooker on Tuesday, marking the first time he will be selected in the No.9 jersey, in the NRL, since before last year’s State of Origin series.
And after the ongoing dramas that have plagued the NSW hooker before and since then, Tigers veteran centre Chris Lawrence said he expected Farah would play an aggressive game on Friday night.
“He’ll be fired up,” Lawrence said.
“He’s a really competitive guy no matter what game it is.
“And not just because it’s us, but because it’s his first game for a new club so he’ll be fired up and will want a good performance.”
Few at the Tigers know Farah better than Lawrence.
The two have remained close following the public spat between the club and its former skipper, even catching up in recent weeks.
Until last season, they were the only two players remaining from Lawrence’s rookie year of 2006, while they also represented Australia together in 2010.
“It’s going to be a bit weird,” Lawrence admitted.
“I’ve played all my footy with Robbie.
“But after the first minute, the first few tackles or the first few runs it’s just going to be like any other game.”
Despite that, Lawrence conceded it had been good for the squad in the off-season to move past the ongoing headlines and speculation about Farah’s future at the club and the headlines surrounding his relationship with Jason Taylor.
However he warned the Tigers would have to be on high alert for the kind of football that had made him such an integral part of the club’s gameplay for the past 14 years.
“He’s a really competitive player and he likes to get out and run the ball and create opportunities,” Lawrence said.
“He played really well in the Charity Shield, like he did when he played for us last season. I thought he did have a really good season.
“We’re expecting the same. We’re expecting him to run off the back of those big forwards, so we’re going to have to be ready for that.”