Put yourself in Jason Taylor’s shoes for a moment.
Taylor took over a coaching role at the Wests Tigers that was not all that great on paper. He took over an aging side that wasn’t very well put together and one that wasn’t having any success at all. He was going to be working with a club board that was a basketcase, in a joint venture club where one side of it was effectively dead.
The thing is, Taylor needed to take a punt himself. While he has had some success in the lower grades and always performed well in a caretaker role when asked, he didn’t exactly have clubs lining up to sign him as a head coach after the way things ended for him at South Sydney a number of years ago.
So Taylor stepped into a very difficult role, made no bones about the fact that there would be some difficult times for the club on his watch, a asked supporters to be patient as he went about rebuilding the club, a job he signed up for and had the boards support to take on.
It hasn’t been easy. There have been some tough times. Still, when you look at the Wests Tigers right now, you see a young side that is in a much better position than the club found itself in when Taylor arrived.
Surely, that is the way you have to grade Jason Taylors performance as the coach of the Wests Tigers.
Which leads us to Robbie Farah…
Robbie Farah is an aging player in a young side who is on at least $900,000 a season. He is contracted through to the end of 2017, and while the club has been trying to show him the door for a number of years now, Farah has dug in his heels and said he will not be going anywhere.
For a while that worked, but when the clubs record without Farah is better than their record when Farah plays in 2016, that all changes.
Robbie Farah has always been one of the Wests Tigers key playmakers, even from a very early point in his career. Now the Wests Tigers have a young halves pairing that need to be running the show, as well as a fullback who can completely take over a game and win it through sheer brilliance. As a coach with an eye on the future, you want young young playmakers to be running the show right now. They will make mistakes. The club will lose games because they haven’t got the experience they need. The thing is, now is when they will gain the experience that will see them become better players. The likes of Moses, Brooks and Tedesco need to be given the keys to the Wests Tigers now so that in five years time they know what its like to taste success, failure, and know what it takes to be a force in the National Rugby League.
Throw Robbie Farah into that mix at $900,000 a season, with a chip on his shoulder, who doesn’t like the coach at this point, and who randomly takes over the playmaking duties of the club and cuts out all of these young stars who should be running the show instead of Farah.
Now Farah finds himself playing reserve grade. He shouldn’t feel special. There have been better players than Robbie Farah that have been dropped by their club later in their career because a change was needed. The Wests Tigers will continue to play this season, and the next one, and for many years to come if Robbie Farah never plays first grade for the club again.
Robbie Farah should also remember that he was part of a group of youngsters who took over from an aging groupd of Wests Tigers players well over a decade ago, and that change saw the club eventually claim the 2005 NRL title.
Of course Robbie Farah is upset. Of course he didn’t want things to end this way. Of course he doesn’t like the coach who made the decision. It is completely understandable.
Robbie Farah deserves every last cent owed to him by the Wests Tigers. He also need to accept that his time at the club is over. Everyone has moved forward except him.
Robbie Farah should start making plans for 2017 that do not include the Wests Tigers, because at this stage it is clear that the Wests Tigers are looking towards a 2017 season that does not include Robbie Farah.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com