Robbie Farah may go down as the Wests Tigers’ greatest player but coach Jason Taylor fears they don’t have an immediate future with him on their roster.
Farah has been jettisoned by the Tigers as club management attempt to clean up the salary cap mess they say is hampering their growth.
It is the biggest gamble of Taylor’s tenure and one he admits may leave him with egg on his face.
With two years remaining on his contract, Farah – who holds the joint venture record with 236 appearances – has been told he is free to look elsewhere for season 2016.
He is the victim of his own heavily back-ended contract, which is rumoured to be worth $950,000 a year, which the club has suddenly realised it can’t afford.
Signed under a previous administration, it is part of the salary cap web that Taylor and interim chief executive Phil Moss are attempting to untangle.
Taylor was forthright when he fronted the press on Thursday, unapologetic that tough decisions had to be made.
“My feelings are that we need a fresh start and Robbie needs a fresh start,” Taylor said.
“We’d love nothing more than to see Robbie play for an opposition club next year and play really, really well.
“There’s every chance that he can do that. That might put some egg on my face but I think it’d be really good for Robbie.”
While Farah has vowed to fight for his spot next year, Taylor hosed down the possibility and said it was better for him to move on.
Tigers fans are up in arms at the culling of one of the club’s favourite sons and it comes in the wake of decisions to let go of Blake Austin and Adam Blair.
The club has been widely panned, with Austin and Blair excelling at Canberra and Brisbane respectively this season.
Taylor said the club wanted to keep the pair and while they would have helped the side this year, it was better for the future success of the team.
He said parting ways with Farah was similarly difficult and the club will look to future stars like Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks and James Tedesco to step up in the wake of Farah’s loss next year.
“Sometimes you’ve got to go backwards before you can go forwards,” Taylor said.
“They’re hard decisions but they’re aimed at Wests Tigers being a top eight team, a top four team, down the track. Not tomorrow but down the track.”
Taylor said there was no rift between Farah and the rest of the playing group and denied any rumoured animosity had played a part in the decision.
Prop Aaron Woods, who is favourite to assume the Tigers captaincy next season, also shot down suggestions there was bad blood between Farah and the rest of the squad.
“There’s no problems,” Woods said.
“It comes up every time someone leaves.
“I love him to death, Robbie is one of my closest friends. All the young boys love him and all the senior boys love him.”