March 9, 1994
Andrew Farrar comes into his own when the brewery truck pulls up alongside Illawara's Champion Hotel every Thursday morning. For many publicans, helping to unload dozens of kegs is a chore worth sidestepping. Farrar sees it as a chance to roll up the sleeves and rip into a bit of hard yakka.Its the same scenario when he steps onto the football field.
Few players put their body on the line like Farrar...and few boast 3 grand final wins as well as State of Origin and Test Match victories.
He was the central figure in Warren Ryans reign of terror with Canterbury, claimed a premiership with Canterbury under Phil Gould, before linking with Ryan at Wests.A move to English club Wigan brought more trophies.. and enhanced a bulging portfolio.
Not surprisingly, at 31 years of age, Farrar wants more. With more than 260 first grade games under his belt, Farrar will launch his quest for another title this Sunday when the Steelers take on Western Suburbs.
The tough centre, who is filling the critical five-eigth role with Illawara this season, acknowledges his 14th season of first class football looms as his toughest.Critics already suggest he's "too old and too slow" to be playing in the Winfield Cup.But in typical Farrar fashion, he ignores the knockers, preferring to let his long list of achievements stand as testimony to his ability.
Coach Graham Murray remains adamant Farrar and fellow recruit Joe Thomas will prove bargain buys for the Steelers.Together they bring experience and guidance to the club which may prove the difference between making the semi finals and falling short. Murray hopes the duos talents will come to the fore in the tight games this year, unlike last season when the Steelers failed to finish off their opponents at critical times. "Andrew and Joe know we will be leaning on them at times this season.They know what's required in tough situations.I couldn't be happier with their import both on and off the field at this point in time".
Farrar looks ahead with great optimism although he refuses to make any bold predictions.He knows what it takes to be part of a champion side and says the Steelers have the makings of something special. "The potential of the club is unlimited, there are some terrific young blokes playing down there.Hopefully, I can offer some guidance to the younger guys and help keep everyone focussed on the job ahead. "An enormous amount of work goes into winning a premiership, sacrifices have to be made". Illawara fullback David Riolo admits he, like many of his team-mates were a touch sceptical when word filtered through that Farrar was heading to the "Gong.
Three months after Farrar put pen to paper, Riolo is now convinced signing the former international was a shrewd move. "I guess some of us didn't really know what to think when we were told the club had signed Andrew.Many of us were under the impression he had retired.In hindsight, I'm glad he's come aboard."
"He has a really positive influence both on and off the field and his form throughout the Tooheys Challenge has been outstanding". Farrar says he can feel the expectations of supporters as he goes about his daily business at the hotel he manages.
"People here still talk about how the side made the final in 1992 and just missed out on playing in the grand final" Farrar said. "It would be nice if we could give them something to celebrate at the end of the year".