The pri­vate ban­ter be­tween two old Blues broth­ers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SUNDAY SPORT -

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.

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