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AJ Carr - St Helens

To call it a horror season would probably be to give 2013 more credit than it is due.

By far the worst injury record in the Wests Tigers' 14-year history led to one of the worst seasons on the field for the Club.

For many of us, it seemed like a season worth forgetting before it was even over. But for others, it will live in their memories as a season where so many dreams were realised.

Ten young men saw opportunity in crisis and went on to make their first grade debuts.

For many of them, they never looked back, and spent the rest of the season surprising even their own wildest expectations in becoming key players in the NRL squad.

For captain Robbie Farah, it's an exciting time for the Club, one reminiscent of when he came in to first grade and went on to win the 2005 premiership on the back of a similar crop of exciting youngsters.

The young hooker experienced plenty of lows before the high of lifting the NRL trophy. His current team mates are treading a familiar path, one which he thinks is steeling them for the future.

"Those young guys got thrown in the deep end last year," said Farah. They would have learned a hell of a lot from that.

"The thing I said to them when we were going through the time was that it doesn't get any tougher than this.

"They've experience the lowest of lows. They know what it feels like.

"You learn from those experiences and it makes them better players and it will make us a better Club."

The captain isn't getting too far ahead of himself, he knows the team has a long way to go, but as a player who has been there and done that, his experience is invaluable in developing such an exciting crop of young players.

"Hopefully they'll come into their own," said Farah. "They're still going to learn and improve.

"You've probably got to play 50 first grade games to call yourself a first grader.

"You've got to get beat by 50 points, you've got to win by 50 points. You've got to go through all those things; lose in Golden Point, win in Golden Point.

"They're all the lessons that you learn that make you the player you are."

In a 2013 season bereft of too many on field highs, the wins at home were made all the more special.

For Farah and the Wests Tigers players, the victories at Campbelltown and Leichhardt were not only moments to share with the fans, they were in many ways due to the unwavering support from the stands and the hill.

The Club captain paid tribute to the loyal Members who turned up to drive the team to much needed victories during the losing streak.

"It can't be underestimated the effect that a crowd has, especially during the tough times," said Farah.

"We take a lot of confidence out of the knowledge that when things aren't going well, we know the Wests Tigers fans are going to show up.

"They've showed that in the last two years. Obviously it's been a difficult time at the Club, but the effort of our fans to show up has been second to none.

"That keeps us going through the tough times as well.

"We've passed two thousand Members, that's just a testament to the fans that are signing up so early after a difficult year."

Farah knows he and his team mates are working hard to rebuild the Club, and paid tribute to the new culture being developed at the Club under Head Coach Mick Potter.

"I can really see a good work ethic and culture being built within the group," said Farah.

"Hopefully our fans will come along for the ride.

"Even though we might not get the result every time we go out there, there's no doubt we're trying our best.

"Next year will be no different, we'll continue to work hard. I thought we worked really hard this year.

Farah implored fans to embrace the Wests Tigers Membership campaign and form a closer connection with the players and the Club.

"Every time we pull on a jumper, not only are we representing ourselves, we play for the fans of the Club," said Farah.


Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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