Robbie Farah and Cameron Smith will go head-to-head for the 26th time in their illustrious careers this Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
The pair have dominated representative selections at hooker over the past decade, with this year set to be another epic encounter on the State of Origin arena between the two.
With the series opener still over six weeks away, this Round 7 NRL encounter will be a prelude to the rivalry that will be on show between the two number nines on June 1 at ANZ Stadium.
Farah returned from a knee injury in Round 4 and has been at his workhorse-best in his three outings so far – most-notably his 80-minute effort against Newcastle last week in which he racked up 42 tackles and four offloads.
On the other hand, Smith has played all six matches this season and has been yet again a consistent performer for the Storm - making over 40 tackles in every game bar one.
The Farah v Smith rivalry started in 2005 and another chapter will be added this Sunday in the picturesque setting of Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday afternoon – it’s a game not to be missed!
Amazingly, Smith and Farah have played 25 matches against each other since 2005 on both a Club and representative arena.
Smith currently has the upper hand over Farah, notching up a total of 16 victories from their 25 meetings. On a Club level, Smith has won eight from 12, while in State of Origin the Australian captain holds an eight win – five loss record.
However, the record for Farah reads a lot better when the pair meet at Leichhardt Oval, with the Wests Tigers Life Member winning three out of five games.
Leadership the key in absence of Woods…
Expect Farah, along with fellow senior teammates Chris Lawrence and Dene Halatau, to step up this week to fill the void left by Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods who has been ruled out for at least one month with an ankle injury.
While Ava Seumanufagai may have the famous number eight jersey on his back this week, it’s the experienced trio who will guide the young side around the park.
While Lawrence and Halatau will officially co-captain the side, Farah will play a key role in controlling the forwards from dummy-half and making sure they get the side rolling through the middle without Woods.
With over 640 games experience between Farah, Halatau and Lawrence, the three will prove vital to Wests Tigers’ chances of calming the Storm.
The Leichhardt effect…
It’s no secret that Farah loves playing at Leichhardt Oval and his record at the ground speaks for itself.
The Balmain junior has won 24 of 35 games at the ‘Lilyfield Rectangle’; and at one point was on a seven-game winning streak at the ground (2009-11).
However, the record at Leichhardt Oval in recent years hasn’t been as great with just three wins from the past seven matches.
On the other hand, Smith has made eight trips to the ground in career – leaving with just three victories.