Wests Tigers fan showed their love for Robbie Farah and their anger about how the joint venture has treated the captain. Alicia Sylvester reports on an emotional Sunday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Many local fans have thrown their support behind Robbie Farah after the embattled Wests Tigers captain was told he is no longer welcome at the club he's played for over the past 13 years.
Sunday's game against the New Zealand Warriors was meant to be a farewell to two club legends, as Pat Richards and Keith Galloway will leave at the end of the season.
But fans made sure Farah was given a proper send-off after what is likely to be his last home game for Wests Tigers.
Coach Jason Taylor was booed by a chorus of angry fans before Sunday's game, with signs in the crowd calling for Taylor's sacking and the retention of Farah.
Other signs proclaimed "We love Robbie", "Thanks Robbie Farah: legend" and "You deserve better".
Fans saved the loudest cheer for Farah as the team line-up was introduced on the big screen and he was given an even louder reception as he ran out onto the field.
But the most spine-tingling show of affection came when the crowd started a "Robbie" chant after the skipper scored.
On Tuesday last week, Wests Tigers released a statement that Farah had been "granted permission to investigate opportunities to continue his playing career at another club following the 2015 NRL season".
"The decision was not made lightly but ultimately allows the club a chance to restructure the football team to allow for future success," the statement said.
"The club intends on treating Farah with the upmost respect during this process and will make no further comment until his playing future is decided."
Fans took to social media to express their outrage at the club's decision while others thought it was time for a change.
Farah fronted the media on Wednesday morning and said he'd been told he'd play NSW Cup — the reserve grade competition — if he stayed with the club next season.
"My form has been down; I'm the first to put my hand up," Farah said.
"There's no bigger critic on my game than myself. I go out there to play to the best of my ability and I haven't been able to do that [this season]."
For his part, coach Jason Taylor said the club had made some "really tough" decisions over the past year.
"I just want to let out supporters know that every single decision we're making is about rebuilding this club," he said. "Every decision that we're making is based on future success.
"It's not success tomorrow, you just don't turn it around overnight. We've got a plan in place and we're working towards it."
In light of the backlash, club chairman Marino Go sent a letter to members and corporate partners saying the club never intended to show any disrespect to Farah.
"He will forever have a place in the heart of every Wests Tigers member and so he should," the letter said.
"He has achieved so much in the past 13 seasons and on behalf of the club I would like to thank him for everything he has done - both on and off the field."