WESTS Tigers captain Robbie Farah has gone from his highest high to his lowest low.
Farah played the game of his career in State of Origin II on Wednesday night, securing an Origin record of 63 tackles in one game.
Four days later, he lost his mother Sonia to pancreatic cancer.
Farah labelled his Origin man of the match honours, as voted by his teammates, was a highlight of his career.
On Sunday, his Tigers teammates took to the field without their skipper, with many players reduced to tears during a moment’s silence.
This week, the players and staff have rallied around Farah, preferring to grieve privately as a club.
The Farah family released a statement on Monday night: ‘‘The Farah family have been overwhelmed with messages of sympathy and condolences following the sad passing of Sonia Farah yesterday.
‘‘The family greatly appreciates the messages which have given them great comfort and strength during this very difficult time.
‘‘The family were also very moved by the minute silence observed by the crowd at Leichhardt Oval yesterday.
‘‘Whilst the family understands and appreciates the public interest, they ask that their privacy is respected at the funeral service.’’
The funeral was being held in Croydon today.
On Sunday, coach Tim Sheens said it was difficult for players to come to terms with the news, which was delivered about 90 minutes before kick-off.
‘‘We had a quick talk about it and we just had to try and shut it out and get through the game,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘It is easier said than done.
‘‘It is a close club and the team will all be upset for Rob and his family.
‘‘We feel more for Robbie than when we do about anything else at the moment.
‘‘We are a family here at Wests Tigers.’’
Chief executive Stephen Humphreys said the club would wait for Farah to decide when he was ready to come back. More than 1000 condolence messages have been posted on the Wests Tigers Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Sonia Farah’s memory can be made to The Concord Cancer Centre c/o Dr Prunella Blinman, Department of Medical Oncology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Hospital Road, Concord, 2139.