Farah throws down gauntlet in battle for No.9
SOUTH Sydney hooker Robbie Farah has declared his days as an 80-minute hooker aren't over and vowed to earn his beloved No.9 jumper in what could be his last NRL season.
Rookie Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold has laid down the challenge for Farah and Damien Cook to fight for the starting role after opting against using a dual-hooking system this year.
The test begins on Saturday when the foundation club meets Super League side Wigan in a double-header trial that will include St George Illawarra and Hull at ANZ Stadium.
Cook is likely to get first crack at rake, with Farah and youngster Adam Doueihi expected to start in the halves for the injured Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.
Farah and Doueihi played together during Lebanon's run to last year's World Cup quarter-finals.
"Reynolds and Walker should be worried, to be honest. They might have to come back through reserve grade and the Lebanon connection might take over," Farah joked.
What isn't a laughing matter for Farah is his desire to be at dummy-half when the Rabbitohs begin the season against the Warriors on March 10.
The former Kangaroos and NSW representative went the full length only five times last year but bristles at suggestions he can't do the job again.
"I've still got that ambition and drive in me where I want to be the first- choice hooker and play 80 minutes. There's no point talking about it ... I gotta go out there and prove it," he said.
"My body's still 100 per cent fine. I'm not missing any sessions. I'm still fit so as long as I'm playing good footy and I get picked, I back myself to play 80 minutes every week."
Farah has been buoyed by his campaign at halfback for the Cedars, who fell agonisingly short of a shock semi-final appearance.
And with Seibold ready to loosen the attack in 2018, Farah is keen to reproduce his best should the forwards be able to build pressure.
Off-contract at the end of the year, Farah admits this could also be his last NRL season.
"I'm not young any more. I'm not too sure whether I get another gig in the NRL next year or whether I go overseas or I retire. It's a long way away," he said.
"I haven't enjoyed my footy in a good two, three years. Playing for Lebanon really brought that enjoyment, that love back for me so I'm just focusing on enjoying."