GAL AND ROBBIE EXCHANGE TEXTS
The private banter between two old Blues brothers
HERE’S proof the blood of two former Blues is thicker than water.
On an emotional day that marks the end for either retiring Wests Tigers champion Robbie Farah or Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, emerges the text message that the legendary pair never considered would turn out like this.
From the message we can draw a mateship that — if Farah plays — will be put to the side for one last time at Leichhardt Oval this afternoon. But the message is also a revealing insight into why Farah has done everything humanly possible to produce a miracle comeback for one last lap — just three weeks after breaking his tibia.
Sharing a bond that was formed during their painstaking dismantling of Queensland’s State of Origin reign in 2014, Gallen and Farah were the two NSW leaders former coach Laurie Daley chose to help restore state pride after nine-years of pain.
It was memory and moment that both Farah and Gallen still rate as one of their proudest achievements over the course of a combined 647 NRL appearances.
So when Farah sat down in front of a press galley to announce on July 30 that he was retiring after 16 seasons, one of the many messages of congratulations to flood his phone was from Gallen.
“Congrats on career mate you’ve done awesome well done. Enjoy the rest of the year,’’ Gallen wrote.
“Leichhardt Oval last round see u there.’’
Farah was quick with his reply. “Thanks mate! Leichhardt Oval last round what a way to finish.
“Hopefully both playing semi finals the week later.’’
Farah’s final sentence is, of course, is a scenario that can’t eventuate given both the Tigers and Sharks sit together on 24 points.
Sharks coach John Morris said his side had spent little focus on wondering if Farah will play. But he admitted, given he, too, is a former Tiger, he can see the romance in Farah and Gallen playing their final game, with so much on the line in front of a packed Leichhardt Oval.
“It’s amazing how it all works out,’’ Morris said.
“Particularly after the 2014 Origin series, when they held that trophy up for the first time in a long time.
“They’re good mates, Gal and Robbie, and unfortunately for one of them, it’s the last time that we’re going to see them going around on the footy field, if Robbie plays.
“I actually hope for his own sake, that he does.
“He’s been a legend of that club. He and Benji have been the spiritual leaders of that club for all those years and I think it’s a great story of he does get a chance to play.
“But with all respects to Robbie, it doesn’t change anything we do. I know as a club, our boys were disappointed last week we couldn’t send Gal off at PointsBet Stadium as a winner and we’re going to make sure (Leichhardt Oval) is not his last game.’’
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg will present Farah and Gallen with a gift to make their contribution to the game after fulltime.