Anthony Seibold's appointment as Des Haslers' replacement at the Manly Sea Eagles has left many NRL observers with unanswered questions, but Jake Trbojevic is backing the incoming coach.
Emerging as a front-runner after Hasler's position at the Sea Eagles became increasingly untenable following an 0-7 run to end the 2022 NRL season, Seibold was a surprise candidate for the job.
Heavily favoured by Manly personnel, many NRL observers believe an near insurmountable level of pressure will be on Seibold to prove quickly next season that his disastrous turn as Brisbane Broncos coach was a mere one-off.
Having won NRL coach of the year as a rookie when he took the reigns at South Sydney, Seibold was snapped up by Brisbane to replace Wayne Bennett for the 2019 season.
Despite making the top eight in his first season, 2020 quickly became an abject disaster for Seibold, who holds the dubious honour of having led the Broncos to their only wooden spoon season in rugby league history.
However a hiatus from the NRL, in which Seibold has been working with England's national rugby team, has revitalised Seibold, and Trbojevic is a believer.
Having had an opportunity to speak to his new coach while in England for the Rugby League World Cup, Trbojevic said he was confident Seibold was the man for the job.
“I worked with him back in 2016 so I know him fairly well. I think he’s a really good guy and a really good coach, I think he’ll be good for us," Trbojevic said.
“He made a really good impression in 2016, he was really good at the Rabbitohs and even in his first year in Brisbane they made the eight, so I think he definitely deserves another crack.
“He’s got great attention to detail, I know that and seeing the way he’s gone off… he said he learnt his lessons.
“He’s worked in another sport and I think that sort of thing will be really good for us and I reckon he’ll be really good for our group.”
Sea Eagles retain Trbojevic brothers despite post-season tension
Part of the fallout of Hasler's exit led to speculation that Jake and brother Tom would explore their options away from Brookvale Oval given how close they were to the axed Sea Eagles coach.
It followed a tumultuous end to the 2022 NRL season where Manly lost their last seven games in the aftermath of the pride jersey saga.
But Trbojevic, said he and brother Tom never had any desire to leave the club.
"We definitely didn't want to (leave), that didn't come from us," he said. "We love Manly and grew up in Manly.
"It's definitely hard at times seeing your loyalty get questioned when we've worked really hard and we want Manly to do well.
"It's been great being here, (you) don't go on social media, don't read anything and you just keep going on with your business."
Trbojevic also hosed down speculation he had fallen out with Cherry-Evans as part of the disastrous end to Manly's 2022 campaign.
"That was frustrating to hear and I don't like seeing it, I'm a really good friend of Daly's," Trbojevic said.
"It's tough to see and I try not to think about it. It's people making it awkward for us and it's fine.
"We get on really well and had a great time over here and have been hanging out heaps. I don't know where that comes from."
Trbojevic urged outsiders to look beyond the pride jersey as a reason for their late-season demise.
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