Manly shouldn't ask Tom Trbojevic for another miracle

The Incomparable Immortal Bob Fulton
Tipping Comp 2021
We're on the other side of Christmas, so you know what that means — the 2022 NRL season is all but upon us.

It might still be a couple of months until Penrith host Manly to officially kick off the new campaign, but we're in the thick of it now.

It won't be long until there are trial matches and late transfers, and plenty of season previews that'll have you thinking that this year, by God, is going to belong to your team.

Hope springs eternal in the summertime, and following on from our series of off-season previews here's the biggest question the top four teams from last year need to answer if they're to take out the premiership in 2022.

Manly Sea Eagles​

Question: How do they take the final step?

Answer: If history is any guide, we have seen the best of Tom Trbojevic. His 2021 season was remarkable, exemplary and right up there with the greatest individual campaigns any player has ever had in the history of rugby league.
He'll be very good again in 2022, of that there seems to be little doubt, but you can't bank on someone scoring 28 tries in 18 games and generally seeming like a player from another universe. It's just not repeatable, even for Trbojevic, and expecting him to be better again, or even match his performance from 2021, is asking too much. He will still be one of the best players in the competition in 2022 but demanding a second miracle season is setting him up to fail.

So for Manly to rise up and win the title, they need to make up the distance in the margins. That might be in continuing to develop Josh Schuster's combination on the left edge, or it might Lachlan Croker continuing to improve at hooker, but it's worth keeping an eye on rising props Taniela Paseka and Sean Keppie.
For some time now, the Manly middles have gone as far as Jake Trbojevic and Martin Taupau could take them but the new rules have not been kind to Trbojevic and Taupau will be 32 in January with over 200 NRL games at prop under his belt. Manly's downfall in their preliminary final loss to Souths was the middle third of the field, which was exacerbated by losing Keppie early to concussion.

The Narellan junior improved vastly as the season went on, with his toughness and physicality shining through towards the back end of the campaign. Paseka, the largest Sea Eagle of them all, is 24 and has always been blessed with prodigious physical gifts but he is beginning to really put them all together and is nearly at the age when front-rowers traditionally play their best football.
If the hard-nosed duo can continue their improvement, it'll make Manly that little bit stronger in the middle and when you add that to their dazzling spine and merciless approach to scoring points it's a frighting prospect for any side.

 
Bencher
Walker or Koula need to take a centre position and become another focal point of attack.
If Schuster plays a few matches at 5/8th with Paseka, big Marty and Haumole running off him, watch out.

It will probably take an injury to Foran and one of our centres for it to happen.
 
Bencher
Walker or Koula need to take a centre position and become another focal point of attack.
If Schuster plays a few matches at 5/8th with Paseka, big Marty and Haumole running off him, watch out.

It will probably take an injury to Foran and one of our centres for it to happen.

Walker's best position right now is 14. He's the best fit for it as he can cover lock, halves and centres.

I can't see another player in our squad that suits that role as much as he does as his footwork coming on after 20-25 mins has the ability to change the game, and it's a role that needs to be covered well especially under the new rules.

We have plenty of choices for centre positions, with Koula, Harper, Parker and Tuipolotu, with Koula looking more and more likely to be finding a spot in the centres some time in 2022.
 
Bencher
Walker's best position right now is 14. He's the best fit for it as he can cover lock, halves and centres.

I can't see another player in our squad that suits that role as much as he does as his footwork coming on after 20-25 mins has the ability to change the game, and it's a role that needs to be covered well especially under the new rules.

We have plenty of choices for centre positions, with Koula, Harper, Parker and Tuipolotu, with Koula looking more and more likely to be finding a spot in the centres some time in 2022.
Yeah as much as I love Harper for ripping in and Parker for being very solid in both attack and defense, I feel like they're both just not quite what you need from a top class centre if you want to compete with the top 4 sides.

Having said that, it was our forward pack that couldn't stand up in those big matches. We need to see a lot more from them.
 
This season Tom will be the most marked man in the entire NRL. It's definitely unlikely that he will be as dominant as he was in 2021. Hopefully a large focus of our offseason will be based around taking advantage of the extra attention Turbo will attract.

Teams will be double and triple teaming him and we will need to threaten other areas to force them to adjust. Just chucking it to Tom is gonna become less and less effective as teams adjust.
 
“ Triggered Boomer”
Premium Member
Tipping Comp 2021
This season Tom will be the most marked man in the entire NRL. It's definitely unlikely that he will be as dominant as he was in 2021. Hopefully a large focus of our offseason will be based around taking advantage of the extra attention Turbo will attract.

Teams will be double and triple teaming him and we will need to threaten other areas to force them to adjust. Just chucking it to Tom is gonna become less and less effective as teams adjust.
Yes like the Panthers will be targeted all year so will our Tommy.

Agree , we have to get others to step up.
 
Let’s all have a chew!
Tom was targeted by most teams all of last year as well, very few were able to do it well and stop him. The Storm had the blueprint (second game) and that was more through dominating us in other areas and nullifying his involvement. Tom is a generational talent. If he stays fit he’s capable of anything - possibly even another Dally M. If his team mates play close to their ability he will have enough time and space to destroy any opposition, he’s that good. Happy New Years all
 
Reserve Grader
Tom was targeted by most teams all of last year as well, very few were able to do it well and stop him. The Storm had the blueprint (second game) and that was more through dominating us in other areas and nullifying his involvement. Tom is a generational talent. If he stays fit he’s capable of anything - possibly even another Dally M. If his team mates play close to their ability he will have enough time and space to destroy any opposition, he’s that good. Happy New Years all
He will be a Clive Churchy winner. He’s too good not to win a prem.
 
Bencher
Can 't see any set reason why he can not continue to be a dominant performer for Manly injury free for the rest of his hopeful long Manly career , Just too good a player to subdue on a regular basis and providing the rest of the sides going forward continue also to have a competitive edge about them . Probably his two least influential games last season were against the Storm in the i st final and the knights in a mid season club game . Lack luster team effort against the Storm and also against the Knights combined with some very questionable reffing . But just an aberration really compared with his otherwise stellar season and again just too classy a player to not being able to replicate his 2021 form and value to Manly with again also just a couple of provisos .
 
18th Man
Tipping Comp 2021
Tom was targeted by most teams all of last year as well, very few were able to do it well and stop him. The Storm had the blueprint (second game) and that was more through dominating us in other areas and nullifying his involvement. Tom is a generational talent. If he stays fit he’s capable of anything - possibly even another Dally M. If his team mates play close to their ability he will have enough time and space to destroy any opposition, he’s that good. Happy New Years all
Absolutely agree. He dominates Origin out of position, and no other player can do that. If we can learn how to build pressure and enjoy an arm wrestle, we will win the comp.
 

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