It’s been a week of reflection and celebration for True Blue Robbie Farah after he announced his retirement on Tuesday and now Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach has paid him the ultimate tribute by drawing a comparison to Tigers’ legend, Benny Elias.
Farah will call time on a glittering NRL career at the end of the 2019 season which includes 16 appearances for NSW, three tests for Australia and a memorable premiership triumph in 2005.
He celebrated his 300th NRL appearance on Friday night having played 274 games for the Tigers and will retire as the club's most-capped player in a career that has spanned across 17 seasons.
Revered by many as a fearless leader and the ultimate competitor every time he takes the field, Roach believes the crafty Tigers no.9 has earned the same respect as the player that many suggest ranks amongst Rugby League’s greatest ever hookers.
“Farah has always been a bloke that people go after in opposition clubs, a bit like Benny Elias,” Roach told the Behind Blue Eyes Podcast.
“Everyone went after Benny and we saw what a great player he was.
“(Farah) deserves all the accolades he’s getting now.”
While Farah has firmly entrenched himself in the rich history of the joint venture, he’s overcome a period of lows that proved telling of his tenacious and uncompromising character.
He stood the test of time when he was dropped to the Tigers’ Canterbury Cup NSW side in 2016 before signing with the Rabbitohs although was unable to keep hold of his starting spot last year following the rise of Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues star Damien Cook.
It seemed as though the stars aligned when he made a welcome return to the Tigers towards the end of 2018 and the move has culminated into a fitting finish for the 35-year-old as he says goodbye to first-grade football.
Roach believes that Farah’s self-belief made him the player he is – typifying his toughness on and off the field while having played 300 first-grade games in the middle-third of the field.
“I look at it purely on the belief in his own ability,” Roach said of Farah
“And (he’s) played 400 games in the middle as he has, and almost played 80 minutes every week for the bulk of his career.
“Unfortunately, he couldn’t play his 300that the eighth wonder of the world, Leichhardt oval."