Why the hype around Tom Trbojevic is over-the-top and wrong

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  • Tom Trbojevic
    Australian rugby league footballer (b. 1996)
  • Bob Fulton
    Australian rugby league footballer, coach, administrator and commentator (1947-2021)
Tom Trbojevic, pictured here in action for Manly against the Bulldogs.
Tom Trbojevic in action for Manly against the Bulldogs. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Let's get one thing straight from the get-go: Tom Trbojevic is a magnificent rugby league player and is producing some of the best individual form we have ever seen.

As someone remarked on Twitter, this is Turbo's world and we’re just living in it. If he's not a one-man team, then he's the closest thing to it.

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A meme did the rounds after a Trbojevic-less Manly lost to Canberra in round 17, claiming 99 per cent of Manly fans blamed the defeat on his absence with one per cent putting it down to the Raiders being the better side.

Turbo saw the meme and was amused by it, but he'd be the first to tell you talk of him being Manly's best-ever is OTT and a tad disrespectful, if not premature.

You may remember a bloke by the name of Bob Fulton. He could play a bit, old Bozo.

He won Manly the 1973 grand final single-handedly with two brilliant solo tries against Cronulla.

Bob Fulton, pictured here with Geoff Toovey and Steve Menzies after the 1996 Grand Final.
Bob Fulton (R), with Geoff Toovey and Steve Menzies after the 1996 Grand Final. (Photo by Getty Images)

As Sharks skipper Tommy Bishop has said many times, put Fulton in the black, white and blue that day and the result is reversed.

Bozo was also an integral part of the Sea Eagles' breakthrough premiership win in 1972 and added the 1976 title to his CV, while dominating representative football for a decade.

He was one of the four original Immortals and, some would say, the best of them all.

Trbojevic may one day occupy the same stratosphere as Fulton, but for now he is a very good player in a rich vein of form.

His dominance has been likened to Jarryd Hayne carrying Parramatta all the way to the 2009 decider or Ben Barba doing likewise at the Bulldogs three years later.

They are both accurate comparisons, although we're yet to see if Turbo can guide the Sea Eagles to the last game of the season.

Put a premiership ring or two on Tom's fingers before we start to anoint him Manly's 'best-ever'.

A very Cheesy offer

A player-manager telling the truth? What next? Wests Tigers signing a marquee player?

We nearly fell off our couch when we read Brandon Smith's manager quoted as saying he was happy

with Storm's opening bid for his client.

"I was pleasantly surprised with their offer. It is certainly a lot higher than I thought it would be," Stan Martin said.

Stan, Stan, Stan. Don't you know you're supposed to express disappointment in the initial offer, declare up to 10 clubs are in the chase and threaten to take your player elsewhere?

Melbourne's offer is believed to be around $600,000 a season, almost certainly guaranteeing Smith will stay in Victoria.

As we told you in a recent column, Storm plan to use Smith as a 9/13 in tandem with Harry Grant. 

As out there as it gets

We've heard some crazy ideas thrown around in rugby league land, but John Singleton's call to cancel the regular season right now and begin a six-team finals series is right up there.

We haven't got enough space or time to detail all the reasons why that would be impossible and, suffice to say, Peter V'Landys won't be acting on the suggestion.

Singo was in Hawaii when he came up with the proposal.

We can only speculate he was giving the Aloha Happy Hour a fair workout at the time.

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