NRL 1 year ago

Ballin return may spell trouble for Farah

  • Ballin return may spell trouble for Farah

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Matt Ballin passes the ball during a Manly Sea Eagles NRL training session at Brookvale Oval on June 25, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

The Wests Tigers welcome back a host of stars from injury for Sunday's NRL clash with Canterbury, but it's the one who isn't playing first grade that could be a problem for Robbie Farah.

Off-season buy Matt Ballin will finally play his first game since undergoing a knee reconstruction last year when he runs out for his new club in the NSW Cup on Saturday.

His return is sure to re-ignite questions over the role of long-time servant Farah, who has played the lion's share of minutes at hooker over the first nine rounds of the competition.

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The former Tigers skipper hoped his new teammate would make a successful return to the paddock, but said he had yet to talk with coach Jason Taylor about how Ballin's comeback would change his role.

"It hasn't been discussed," Farah said on Wednesday.

"It's his first game back. We're just hoping for him to get through unscathed, get a bit of match fitness and when that time comes, I'm sure we'll cross that path."

Farah, 32, was simply pleased to see the former Manly rake back in action.

"I don't know how he did it. It does become a bit monotonous when you're in that rehab group and inside away from the playing group, but he's been upbeat the whole time," Farah said.

"He's been very professional about how he's gone about his rehab and all the boys are really pleased to see him go around on Saturday in NSW Cup.

"Hopefully he can play some long minutes and get some confidence in that knee."

Ballin's return is a timely one, given Farah will play the next two games before heading into camp with the Blues and will miss their round 12 game against Brisbane.

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