Every player has a dream to play representative football, but on the other side of the coin, the men behind the scenes also aspire to work at a higher level, and Rabbitohs Head Physiotherapist Eddie Farah will be getting his chance to impress as he travels to Papua New Guinea with the Prime Minister’s XIII.
It won’t be the first time Farah travels with the side, he was a part of the 2016 squad too, however each trip is another opportunity to showcase skills as one of the best physios in the business.
Farah will joining former Rabbitohs High Performance Manager Troy Thompson, who is the current Elite Performance Manager of the Kangaroos, and his staff as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup later this year.
“Thommo is now with the Australian team but I actually went with them last year, it was a good bit of fun going to Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“They’ve got the World Cup coming up so I filled in for this trip, the Cowboys physio is busy with the finals so I’m filling in for him on this trip.
“It’s good fun. We had a couple of beers at the Men of League function, I got to know a few of the coaches on the trip last year; Adrian Lam, Michael Hagan and Trevor Gillmeister, who are all a great bunch of guys."
Although he’ll be on the medical staff, Farah admitted that the change in environment means he will be playing a different role than the one he does with the Rabbitohs, citing that the shorter time frame to work in will be used to monitor and help make sure there are little to no injuries.
“It’s very different. When you’re at Souths you’re with the players for the whole year and you’ve got to try and improve their physical competence. You try and get them stronger in their core and try and get them to do their rehab in a period of time, and then you’ve got the guys who are in rehab who are injured, but when you go away you’ve got eighteen fit players so it’s just a bit of maintenance works, which is pretty easy in comparison I guess,” Farah said.
“You’re not trying to work with them to improve as athletes, you’re just trying to manage them with a bit of treatment throughout the week, get their strapping and that sort of thing and be there in case anyone breaks down, so it’s a bit different to the week in week out grind of the NRL but it’s still good fun.”
With the Papua New Guineans being known as some of the most passionate rugby league fans in the world, Farah said that while he is expecting a strong fan reception, the absence of a certain Rabbitohs captain this year means it could be a little quieter this time around.
“We got about four to five thousand mad people waiting for us and there’s no doubt there’ll be a fair amount for us this year, although Greg Inglis was a big draw card for us last year and he isn’t going on this trip,” he said.
“He was literally like a god over there. No one cared about the sixteen other players even though there were some big names and Origin players that came away with us last year, so it might be a little quieter this year. We’ll have to wait and see though, I’m sure there’ll be some of the footage posted on Instagram and social media, it is absolute mayhem.”
Farah was excited for the opportunity to be a part of the squad, and acknowledged that he is looking forward to the possibility of featuring in different roles in the future, but would still be working with the Rabbitohs rehab group upon his return, and then making his way to Italy for a well-deserved break.
“It’s a bit separate from the Origin side but it’s definitely a stepping stone. They’re happy with my work and obviously the coach is a pretty big part of the decision and ‘Thommo’ is his right hand man for the performance side of things, so big Mal (Head coach Mal Meninga) is happy and hopefully I can be a part on a more permanent basis on the Australian team,” Farah admitted.
“I’ll be around for a couple weeks working on the injured boys in rehab. A few of the boys are still training and they’ll go away for a few weeks in October. I’ll be heading off to Italy so I’ll be definitely looking forward to that.”