‘He’ll be playing’: Trbojevic gets green light after secret session
February 26, 2023 — 4.44pm
Superstar Tom Trbojevic is poised to play his first game in more than nine months after passing his biggest test yet in a secret scrimmage the weekend before his NRL comeback.
The Manly fullback will be named in Anthony Seibold’s round one squad for the clash against the Bulldogs after coming through his most physical hit out yet against the Sea Eagles’ NSW Cup side Blacktown on Saturday.
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The behind-closed-doors session was the most intense game simulation Trbojevic has had in the build-up to his return after a shoulder reconstruction last season and hamstring tear during summer.
“He’s playing,” Seibold said. “We had a scrimmage against Blacktown and he came through it well. It was similar to what we did against the Dragons and he’s been in full training for pretty much the last two weeks and he’ll get a full week in this week. He’ll be named.”
The news will be a relief to Manly fans who feared for the future of the club’s most important player after his latest hamstring setback just before Christmas.
It prompted the Sea Eagles to send Trbojevic to Philadelphia-based reconditioning guru Bill Knowles
earlier this year. Knowles has also worked with South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell
and Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen
to help them overcome similar chronic injuries.
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.Credit:NRL Photos
“It was a fantastic trip for him, and it sets him up for the rest of his career,” Seibold said. “He’s got a really good understanding of his body and his running mechanics and there’s life experience there too.”
Trbojevic skipped Manly’s two games in the pre-season challenge, which the club won to bank $100,000
. He also missed last year’s State of Origin series and Australia’s successful World Cup defence.
Trbojevic’s fitness is considered crucial for the Sea Eagles to make a positive start under Seibold with matches against the Eels, Rabbitohs, Panthers and Storm during the opening seven rounds.
Josh Schuster (calf) will join long-term absentees Jason Saab and Karl Lawton (both ACL tears) as the only Manly players unavailable for round one, which will pit Seibold against Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo, who is taking on his first permanent head coaching role.
Copper Johns will get the nod at No.6 deputising for Schuster, with captain Daly Cherry-Evans also playing his first game of the season after sitting out the trials.