‘Every game I felt like I was under the microscope’: Trbojevic learning to manage the hype

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Mac Man

Reserve Grader

Christian Nicolussi

October 21, 2023 — 3.50pm

Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic says he has learnt how to handle the intense interest in his form and fitness, while declaring his one simple goal for 2024: “To show everyone what I can do.”
Trbojevic also confirmed there had been no talk about him skipping the Sea Eagles’ season-opener in Las Vegas to minimise the chances of any fresh injuries due to the extra travel.

After a dislocated shoulder restricted his 2022 campaign to just seven NRL games, Trbojevic was keen to make up for lost time last season, only to rupture a pectoral muscle in Origin II in Brisbane.
There were some suggestions Trbojevic should shift from fullback to centre to preserve his body, or that the injuries would cut short his career altogether. Neither of those options were ever entertained, he said.

For the record, he was also never a serious chance of returning this season, even if Manly had made it all the way to the grand final.
Trbojevic has also worked closely with a psychologist, which has kept him mentally sharp during another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Tom Trbojevic has big plans for 2024 after injury cut short his 2023 season.CREDIT:GETTY
“I’m really optimistic about the season – I’m excited to get back out there, play some footy and show everyone what I can do,” said Trbojevic, as he signed nearly 200 copies of his children’s book, The Turbo Pup, at Warringah Mall on Saturday.
“I haven’t dived into it too much with things like how many games I want to play. It was a tough year for me this year. There was a lot of external talk about me, and every game I felt like I was under the microscope.


Tom Trbojevic’s new book, The Turbo Pup.

Tom Trbojevic’s new book, The Turbo Pup.
“It wore on me a bit. But like all things, good or bad, you learn from it. I know now how to have a better mindset and focus around all that stuff. It was hard not to be frustrated by this year, but I’ve come to terms with it and accepted it – I accepted it a while ago.”
Manly is one of four NRL clubs to launch next season in Vegas, and will be the only team that is based in Nevada for the week.
Some fans would be wondering if the safer option is to spare Trbojevic’s body from all the flights and training on synthetic fields.
But the man himself could not wait to get amongst it, and said he was close to full fitness before the club broke for the off-season break. He travelled to Bali, Singapore and Vietnam, and the Cox Plate in Melbourne awaits next weekend, before he reports for pre-season training early next month.

“We haven’t even discussed Vegas and what’s happening there, but that idea [of missing it] certainly won’t be tossed out there by myself,” Trbojevic said. “We’re going a week early to prepare, so there will be no issues. I’m actually very excited about it, and you don’t get many opportunities to play in such a big arena and in such a special place. It’s something different.”

There was a lot to like about Manly with coach Anthony Seibold in charge this season, with their defensive effort in an 18-8 win against Melbourne at home in April one of the best team performances of the season.
The return of Trbojevic adds so much in attack and defence. The northern beaches club has also recruited Luke Brooks from the Wests Tigers with Trbojevic keen to work with the playmaker who has speed to burn.
“I don’t know him personally, but I’ve been told he’s a quality bloke, and he’s clearly a quality footballer,” Trbojevic said. “He’ll be good for us and we’ll be good for him. He’s played over 200 games and knows what he’s doing. We found our feet later in the season and started playing the footy we wanted to play. That will be what we plan to do from round one next year.”

Prop Sean Keppie will be confirmed at Souths this week, with his early release paving the way for Matt Lodge to be retained for 2024.

Eagle 1

First Grader
All sounds good from Tom, he's itching to play, no reason he wont come out firing on all cylinders come rd1 2024 in Las Vegas.


First Grader
Premium Member
Blah, blah, blah,,, what do the stakeholders need to hear,,, Yeah, hard to sit on the sideline and get paid thousands for something you could be doing...

40 nil

It's only a game ...
Yeah, hard to sit on the sideline and get paid thousands for something you could be doing...
I would suggest that it hard to continually be in rehab with injuries and also frustrating sitting on the sidelines not being able to do what he loves & not being able to help his club to more success. Imagine what a consummate player Turbo would be if he'd been able to play at least 80% games over the last five seasons.


Journey Man
Tipping Member
The bad news is Nothing is certain
The Good news is Everything is possible
Stay Positive
Stay Passionate
Keep working hard

No point in moving turbo. Wasted on the wing and cant handle the defensive work at center. Keep him at fullback until injured then move koula to fullback.


I have a well known member
Premium Member
No point in moving turbo. Wasted on the wing and cant handle the defensive work at center. Keep him at fullback until injured then move koula to fullback.
I like the idea of switching Turbo and Koula throughout the game to take advantage of favourable matchups. ie Tom could have success against a weaker defender whereas Koula can burn a slower defender. Also keeps the defence guessing where each one may pop up.


First Grader
Premium Member
Tipping Member
the last few seasons his team mates have heaped stacks of extra pressure on the bloke by not creating space for him. Instead just giving him the ball with a wall of defenders and looking to back him up if he creates something extra ordinary from nothing. Thats not his role, thats not anyones role

That hadnt changed one bit when he got injured last season. its so predictable and allows the opposition to number up and did little to restore his confidence after trying to learn how to run again

If you have the time over the off season watch our early season games from this season and the ball was just getting handed off to him . it was like under 10s at times, give it to the fast guy or the big bloke

being such a committed team man he just readily accepts and takes full responsability for the teams outcomes and continually puts his hand up for another shot. Those 2 behaviours combined from him and others put him om a hiding to nothing.

and then there is the fans, the media, the blues. he is just the ultimate team player, playing fullback, prop, halfback and team standard setter with little or No respite

One of my all time favorite players but i hate watching it. Poor bugger

let him be a fullback, provide him with space, create half gaps for him and he will shine. make him part of something,a cog rather than the whole ****ing crank system

we go into next season with one of the better spines with the addition of brooks,emergence of gordie as a 14 and DCE in career best form. they have to find a way to unleash tommy, not the other way around, and relieve some of that pressure and hopefully see him smile again on the footy field

manly al

First Grader
Just have to get Turbo at the sufficient fitness level and right frame of mind at full back that was evident against the Raiders this season [ who were quite competitive at the time . ]
May as well include those early season games against the Dogs and Storm where Turbo was close to his best as well and similarly against the Dolphins even though they were down on troops a bit
Still not sure that it would serve any purpose or overall benefit swapping or occasionally interchanging Turbo and Koula at centre and full back and apart from the general disruption it probably could also create .
Very helpful to be in the position to still have 3 very capable full backs in the squad however [ and even more understandable again for Weekes to have contemplated a club switch ]
,Any options are worth looking at but Turbo at his best at the back for a full game , would have to offer the best prospect at Manly being at their competitive best .
Think that the option of Garrick as a centre and seeing how or what he can hopefully very effectively offer there is going to be of more interest .


I just hope the bloke gets to play at full fitness with our forward pack putting in an actually decent effort for a few seasons. 2021 he basically carried us on his back to the top 4 but then our pack just went to water in the finals.

CRPSI eagle

Reserve Grader
In my opinion, hope I’m wrong but will never be the same player again and there are more excitement machines playing 1 now.
I wish him heathy years ahead.


First Grader
I'll settle for keeping him on the paddock for a full season. Then we have origin.... What can you do hey.. You all know what's going to happen..
Team P W L PD Pts
13 10 3 97 24
14 10 4 118 22
14 10 4 78 22
13 8 5 66 20
14 8 6 143 18
13 7 6 81 18
13 7 6 -55 18
14 7 6 42 17
14 7 7 37 16
15 8 7 -8 16
14 7 7 -50 16
14 6 7 13 15
14 6 8 -55 14
13 4 9 -126 12
14 4 10 -121 10
13 3 10 -129 10
13 3 10 -131 10
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