Manly makes big call on Tom Trbojevic's availability for State of Origin

The Sea Eagles could be forgiven for not wanting to risk a Tom Trbojevic injury in State of Origin.

Tom Trbojevic carries the ball for Manly.
Tom Trbojevic is preparing to play in State of Origin with the approval of Manly, despite his continued struggles with back spasms. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Manly won't be putting any NRL roadblocks in the way of Tom Trbojevic's State of Origin return despite concerns his body won’t hold up in rugby league's toughest arena. In fact, the Sea Eagles are openly encouraging Turbo's representative comeback in the belief it will only benefit the player and club in the long run.

Manly CEO Tony Mestrov allayed any fears the No.1 would be placed in cold storage once Origin rolls around in late May. "There's still six weeks to go until the Origin teams are picked and a lot can happen between then and now, but you'd have to think a fit and firing Turbo would be very much in NSW's plans," Mestrov told Yahoo Sport Australia.

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"He's a proven performer at State of Origin level and we'd be delighted to see him back in a blue jumper. There's certainly been no talk or concerns about his ability to handle the workload.

"Our medical and coaching staff are up there with the best in the game and closely monitor Tom's condition, as they do with all our players. They're happy with the way he's tracking and are confident he'll continue to trend upwards.

"If Freddy (NSW coach Brad Fittler) picks him, he will go with our full blessing. It will be great for Tom and the Manly club."

Tom Trbojevic gearing up for State of Origin campaign

Trbojevic has only played eight games of a possible 15 since debuting for NSW in 2018, but the Blues' success rate with him in the side is staggering. Of those eight matches, NSW won six on the way to collecting series wins in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Playing on the wing and at centre, he's scored nine tries including two hat-tricks. Trbojevic was awarded the Wally Lewis medallist for the player-of-the-series in 2021.

Tom Trbojevic pictured alongside a Manly Sea Eagles teammate.
Manly has backed Tom Trbojevic's push to be fully fit for State of Origin, not concerned about a potential injury to the star fullback. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

The two series the Manly superstar missed - 2020 and 2022 – were both won by Queensland. If fit, Trbojevic will be one of the first players picked in Fittler's squad, but there remains conjecture over where he will play.

Despite destroying the Maroons at centre, the Sea Eagles flyer could line-up on the wing with either Matt Burton, Campbell Graham, Jack Wighton or Stephen Crichton joining Latrell Mitchell in the centres.

But former Blues coach Phil Gould is dead against moving Turbo, declaring on 100% Footy: "Turbo's been man of the match in the centres every time they pla y him there, why wouldn't you play him there?

"Bring another winger in, don't move a fullback who was playing in the centres out there."

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