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Farah Not Distracted By Origin Talk

Words: Martin Gabor, National Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Veteran New South Wales Blues hooker Robbie Farah isn't concerned that his recent move from the starting side to the bench will affect his chances of featuring in this year's State of Origin series.  

The 33-year-old played 80 minutes in the Round 1 loss to the Wests Tigers, but has been restricted to 51, 48, 49, 7 and 38 minutes since then, with Farah starting the last two games from the bench and Damien Cook promoted to the run-on side. 

"That's not for me to worry about. State of Origin is obviously a while away yet and for me it's about doing my job here and what's required of me here at South Sydney," Farah told media at Redfern Oval on Tuesday morning. 

"When Origin comes around, I'm sure if I'm playing good footy then my name will be up there in contention. I guess Laurie (Blues coach Laurie Daley) and the selectors know that from the job that I've done in the past – they know what to expect of me."

Despite only playing 80 minutes in four of his nine club games in 2016, Farah was on the field for every second of last year's Origin series and is confident he can do it again if called upon now that his back injury has settled down. 

"I think I can still push out 80 minutes," he said. 

"Obviously it's not as easy as it used to be, but if push came to shove – or if something happened in a game where say 'Cooky' went down – [then I'd be comfortable to play the 80 minutes]. He had to do it in Townsville when I only played five minutes and he got through that, so if it was required then I'd be able to do it.

"It's not foreign to me – I've had back issues right through my career. 

"It's been really good for the last few years but unfortunately two weeks back it flared up in the trip up to Townsville. It's nothing foreign to me and it just needed some time to settle down and now it's fine."

Farah admitted it was natural for him to want to reclaim his No.9 jersey at club level, but said he also enjoyed the new role set for him by Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire.  

"Anyone wants to start the game, but I'm still playing the same minutes that I was at the start of the year," he said. 

"I'm still playing 40-50 minutes which seems to be working really well and it's something that I'm enjoying. Whatever way Madge decides to use the both of us for the benefit of the team, well then that's what we're here to do. 

"Cooky and I have been training together and working really hard together on that combination. Madge has been mixing things up with the way he's using us and it seems to be working pretty well and it's something that can hopefully evolve as the season goes on."