A mentally fragile Robbie Farah has revealed the emotional burden became too much for him to deal with alone following the fallout from a range of off-field woes at Wests Tigers.
Farah details on the Footy Show on Thursday night that he sought counselling after he was dragged into the spotlight when a private conversation with Gorden Tallis – where Tallis claimed Farah criticised coach Mick Potter – was publicised on radio.
In an interview with Phil Gould, which will air on Channel 9 from 8.40pm on Thursday night, Farah said he had reached a new low.
“It got to me,” Farah said. “It was pretty bad. It’s probably the worst I have ever been. Family and friends were worried about me. It’s not easy for me to sit here and say this, but I had to seek help. I’m disappointed that I let myself be affected by it so much to show that sort of weakness.”
There were genuine concerns about Farah’s mental state when the skipper missed Tigers training last week. He returned for the club’s loss to Melbourne on Monday night before skipping the scheduled post-match press conference.
Farah was involved in a heated discussion with Tallis on the field at ANZ Stadium at the end of the Tigers loss to St George Illawarra on July 27, just hours after Tallis had made the claims.
“That’s the most disappointing thing – something I said 15 months ago over a beer, or whatever it was, that’s got nothing to do with what’s going on at the moment,” Farah said.
“There’s no doubt Mick Potter has improved as a coach. I think he would be the first to put his hand up and tell you that and for Gordie to come out and assume that what I said 15 months ago had something to do with what’s going on today is completely wrong.”
The fallout has thrown Farah’s relationship with Potter into question, and his ability to work with Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer. Potter and Farah have always maintained they have a good working relationship.
Gould and Farah met for two hours on Tuesday afternoon.
“We went through a range of issues,” Gould said on Fairfax Media’s Gus and Webby Show on Wednesday. “He is seen to be the public face of the Tigers – certainly the public face of the issues surrounding the coaching there and whether Mick Potter the coach will stay or go at the end of the season. He has had a fair bit to say. He has had his right of reply. He has thought about it for a week and a half. He hasn’t done much media for the last week and a half.”
Farah was again dragged into the spotlight when he missed the post-match press conference on Monday. He said on Twitter that he was encouraged to miss the media showdown by Tigers media co-ordinator Brock Corfe via text message.
Instead, it was left to Keith Galloway, who had played his 150th game on Monday, to accompany Potter following the loss to Melbourne.
“Hey mate, just thinking about the post match press conference tonight,” the text to Farah read. “We might just throw Keith Galloway in there because it’s his 150th game for the Club and make it easier for you? Let me know what you think mate. Cheers.”
Farah was also frustrated with club officials after comments he made before the Dragons game on the club’s website – where he had backed Potter – had been omitted. Gould said Farah had made the right decision to delay speaking out.
“He is a lot better than he was last week,” Gould said. “I spoke to him briefly last week. It was probably better he didn’t speak last week. In this interview he has a lot to say. It’s very strong, measured and well thought out. It was a great discussion.”