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3 days ago
Having been burned last year, you can understand why Cronulla are more than a little sheepish at the prospect of Robbie Farah lining up for Wests Tigers on Sunday.
But the message from Tigers coach Tim Sheens to his Sharks counterpart Ricky Stuart on Thursday was fairly succinct.
"Robbie is not playing. Ricky, he is not playing," Sheens said.
You could hardly blame Stuart either after Farah made a miraculous recovery to play against the Sharks in round 23 last year, the representative hooker kicking the match-winning field goal in a 29-28 victory.
Farah did his best to keep the mind games rolling along on Thursday when he refused to rule himself out of the contest.
He has missed the last three matches due to an ongoing back complaint but was this week given the all-clear to resume full training.
"I might wake up Sunday morning and decide I want to play," Farah said.
"The doc hasn't given me a time frame on how long he wants me training for.
"A lot of it relies on myself and how I feel and with the back I've got to let him know how I'm feeling.
"If I feel like I'm training okay and I feel like I can play, I'll definitely tell coach I'm ready.
"I might wake up (good) Sunday morning and you might see me at Shark Park, no promises."
But even Farah admitted he was an unlikely starter against the Sharks, with club officials keen on seeing him spend the next three weeks working on his fitness.
The Tigers play Brisbane next weekend before enjoying the bye in round nine, meaning Farah's most likely return would be against Newcastle in round 10.
"For me now it's just a matter of getting myself right and fit again to come back and play 80 minutes of footy," Farah said.
"I don't like to get subbed so I want to make sure when I come back I am playing 80 minutes."
Desperate to crack into the NSW Origin side this year, Farah has been told by Sheens not to rush back this weekend in order to ensure his selection in the City Origin side to be named on Sunday night.
Fullback Brett Hodgson is a much more likely starter against the Sharks despite missing training with a bout of the flu on Thursday.
There was news in the Tigers front office as well on Thursday with long-standing chief executive Steve Noyce announcing his resignation.
Noyce, who has been in charge of the joint-venture club since August 2000, said it was simply time to move on.
"I've had a reasonable innings and I'm going to open the door rather than be thrown out the door," said Noyce, who will remain in charge for the next few months.
"You've got to be careful in sport that you don't stay too long, because we all love it and we're all really passionate about it."
Noyce claimed he was leaving the club in good shape, predicting a bright future ahead.
"If everyone works together, supports Tim (Sheens) as they continue to do so, we could be the biggest club in Sydney," Noyce said.
"As a kid who grew up thinking how big Canterbury and Parramatta and the Roosters were, it's exciting to think (about the possibilities.)"