Des Hasler speaks out amid talk of Tom Trbojevic's NRL return
Manly coach Des Hasler has hosed down talk of Sea Egales star Tom Trbojevic returning sooner than expected from injury, saying the fullback is still on the road to recovery.
Hasler asked the assembled journalists on Thursday to 'relax' in their questioning of Trbojevic's condition, after the 25-year-old said he was hoping to be back in field in time for the second week of the finals.
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Trbojevic went down with what was initially believed to be a season-ending shoulder injury back in May, however he said on Wednesday that he was hoping to be back on field this year in time for the World Cup.
Despite the star fullback leaving the door ajar for an early NRL return, Hasler was insistent on gently closing it once more.
Hasler said it was typical of Trbojevic to view his recovery and rehabilitation so positively, but cautioned that the club was willing to take few risks with him.
"We haven't really put any timeframes around the recovery ... probably what was outlined was more from a medical perspective so there's still a fair amount of work to be covered off for that," he told reporters.
"But it's good to be optimistic, that's the sort of kid Tommy is, he just loves his footy and is keen to play footy.
"But I stress, we've just got to relax a bit, particularly you journos, there's really no timeframe."
Hasler was slightly more evasive when questioned about Trbojevic's potential availablity for the upcoming World Cup, which would require him to get the all-clear from club doctors first.
After this season was already majorly disrupted by the injury to their best player, Hasler was reluctant to offer any substantial comment about the club's thoughs.
"It's difficult to answer that question, there's no point going on record or saying anything about it," he said.
"He's pretty intelligent, pretty pragmatic about it.
"We'll just take a deep breath and just continue on what we're doing ... there's such a long way to go, it's still three months away."
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Trbojevic felt compelled to apologise to his teammates after copping the injury, feeling as though he was letting them down after another injury interrupted his season.
The 25-year-old had just returned to the field for round 11 after overcoming a knee injury, with commentators immediately speculating it could be a season-ending issue.
Trbojevic was hurt jostling with Makahesi Makatoa for a loose ball to try and stop an Eels try, before it was later denied for a knock-on in the lead up.
Trbojevic and brother Jake cut disappointed figures after the match, with players doing their best to comfort the fullback amid his wretched run of injuries.
"He's not great," hooker Lachlan Croker said at the time.
"It's hard to be positive when these things happen. It's tough one.
"The first thing he said to us was sorry. It's just the type of guy he is ... It almost makes you feel worse for him.
"He would be so upset (feeling) that he let us down and didn't finish that game with us. Fingers crossed (it's not bad)."
Trbojevic's injury was hit to not just the Sea Eagles but the NRL, given he is one of the game's most exciting players after winning last year's Dally M Medal.
Manly players are also well aware of his impact on their side, adamant they have learned to play without him while also not blind to the fact they are a far better team with Trbojevic in it.
The Sea Eagles had at one stage won just seven of 31 games without their fullback between 2019 and the opening month of 2021, but claimed victory in seven of nine since.
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