Ghosts of 2005: Farah and Marshall reunion set for round 18 blockbuster against Dragons

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

Wests Tigers legend Robbie Farah will make his triumphant club return this Sunday at a packed Leichhardt Oval after two years in the National Rugby League wilderness.

We all know the story. Some still support then-coach Jason Taylor’s decision to axe Farah from the first grade side in 2016. Most have already moved on and are eating up the fairytale comeback of their premiership-winning dummy half. It would easily be the top story of the round if it wasn’t for a certain Cooper Cronk coming up against his old side in the Melbourne Storm. What is certain is at 2pm Sunday, all eyes will be on the number 9.

Coach Ivan Cleary has named a strong side that also includes Moses Mbye on club debut, Josh Reynolds and Luke Brooks.

One man missing however is Farah’s partner in crime, Mr. Benji Quentin Marshall.

Club officials are surely rubbing their hands together.

Farah’s return at Leichhardt on a Sunday afternoon? Sensational. Farah and Marshall back together on the same team? Perfect.

The enigmatic Kiwi playmaker is expected back from a calf injury in round 18. Just in time to reunite with Farah against the old enemy – St George Illawarra. Marshall couldn’t come back any earlier because Wests Tigers have the bye next week.

Hasn’t it been a long time between drinks for Farah and Marshall?

The pair have not played together since round 24, 2012 when they went down to Canterbury 23-22 at ANZ Stadium.

A red head was Prime Minister (no it wasn’t Fatty Vautin), London hosted the Olympic Games, Obama won a second term in the White House while Gangnam Style dominated the airwaves.

Reckon that’s crazy?

Wests Tigers’ dynamic duo played their first ever NRL match together way back in round 4, 2004 against North Queensland. Benji ran out in the centres while Farah was still riding the pine back then. That’s 15 seasons ago for those playing at home.

Facebook was launched (everyone with MySpace laughs), The Footy Show was still funny, Dragons tragic Johnny Howard was PM, current ARLC Chairman Peter Beattie was QLD Premier and yours truly was “studying” his Year 12 HSC.

Time flies, hey?

And remarkably, a loss on Sunday against the Gold Coast Titans would set Farah and Marshall up to play in the club’s 200th NRL win if they found a way to overcome the premiership-leading Dragons in round 18.

Ghosts of 2005, anybody?

Together they’ve played a combined total of 554 first grades and scored 151 tries between them.

You just can’t buy that kind of experience.

Especially when you’re sitting four points outside the top 8 and you’re knocking on the door of the business end of the season.

The team’s hopes hinge on the next three weeks.

Farah’s return this Sunday at Leichhardt Oval, the bye and a blockbuster against the top-of-the-table Dragons.

Wests Tigers can jump on a massive wave of emotion or they can wilt like they have so many times before.

This is their chance.

@woodward_curtis

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