In 2016 the Tigers came within a game of making the eight for the first time since 2011.

James Tedesco scored and set up tries for fun.

Mitch Moses stepped up and became the player the Tigers brass had been hoping he could be.

Unfortunately, Tedesco’s heroics aside, none of the above will likely be remembered in the future, however, 2016 will always be remembered as the year Robbie Farah left the Tigers.

No Tigers fan will soon forget the sight of Farah sitting on the Leichhardt Oval scoreboard following his halftime lap of honour.

Unfortunately, some Tigers fans seem to have forgotten the incredible career the man who has played 247 times for their club.

I am by no means having a go at fans of the club, it’s just that over the past two years Farah’s achievements have been pushed aside as a ridiculous feud with coach Jason Taylor emerged and dominated headlines.

Farah’s time at the club saw him become arguably the best player to ever done the joint-venture Tigers club. There can be no argument that is firmly in the top five.

Despite the obvious differences in thinking between Farah and members of the current Tigers set up, Taylor’s decision to push his star number nine out the door is a huge gamble.

Farah was one of the first players named by Laurie Daley in 2016’s Origin squad. Many judges still have him in the top few number nines in the competition.

He commanded huge dollars due to his service to the club, and quite frankly was the club’s most marketable star, at least until the emergence of James Tedesco.

This may sound like another Robbie Farah support piece, but I do not intend it to be that. I have no idea of what happened between Taylor and Farah, but I do know that in Farah, the Tigers have lost their leader and a brilliant hooker.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Tigers coach Jason Taylor is pictured before the round 20 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Jason Taylor’s decision was a brave one and one that he believes will benefit the club. I applaud that and absolutely commend him on standing by his decision.

He’s going to have to.

This is the biggest gamble Taylor possibly could have made, and his career will be shaped by this decision. In terms of his tenure at the club, he will live or die by this decision.

The move has broken up the best spine the Tigers have had since the premiership winning side of 2005. Tedesco, Moses, Brooks and Farah may perhaps even have rivalled the 2005 side of Hodgson, Marshall, Prince and Farah, if Moses and Brooks continue to develop as hoped.

With Manaia Cherrington also moving on, to the Sharks, the Tigers have lost the two men who looked to fill the dummy half role for the foreseeable future.

Dene Halatau, who filled in at dummy half toward the end of 2016 has retired, leaving only Matt Ballin as a ready-made replacement.

Given he spent the large majority of the 2016 season on the sidelines, he will likely need some time to readjust to his new surroundings.

Matt McIllwrick, who has come across from the Sharks, has some NRL experience, but only played twice in 2016, and has a total of just ten games since 2015.

Long-term, 20-year-old Jacob Liddle looks as though he will fill the number nine role.

He made his NRL debut in 2016 during the Origin period and has experience at junior rep level both for NSW under 20’s and the Australian schoolboys.

During the games I’ve seen him play in the lower grades, he looks like he has all the tools to forge a super NRL career in the future, however, to throw him into the starting role from round one may be asking too much.

At 183cm and 85 kilos, he’s hardly wasting away, however, given he will be heavily targeted by 105kg+ front rowers from the very first set in defence, it looks a big ask.

With Moses and Brooks expected to provide a huge percentage of the attacking play, and with arguably the best attacking fullback in the game to back them up, perhaps Ballin and Liddle can go about their work with a minimum of expectation and fuss.

That said, given how much the likes of Smith, Ennis and Hodgson provide out of dummy half for their sides, it’s a tough ask to expect a side without a star number nine to go too far.

That said again, perhaps Farah’s presence at training and on the field was such that Taylor was left with no option.

One way or another, from the outside, this looks like a huge gamble and given Farah’s standing with the club and fans, one that could shape the future of Taylor’s role at the club.

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