Jake Trbojevic's classy act after Tigers sink to embarrassing 15-year first

The NRL star's post-match interview was all class.

On the right is Manly forward Jake Trbojevic in the NRL.
Manly forward Jake Trbojevic commended the winless Wests Tigers in a classy post-match interview after his side's NRL victory. Pic: Getty/Fox League

Jake Trbojevic has demonstrated once again why he's regarded as one of the nicest guys in the NRL, after giving a classy post-match interview in the wake of Manly's thrilling 22-16 win over the Wests Tigers. The Sea Eagles looked set to become the first side to lose to the NRL cellar-dwellers this season, until a late Jason Saab try got the visitors out of jail in Campbelltown.

Manly would have been thrilled to escape with the two points after one of their poorest performances of the season, with a litany of errors in the soggy conditions compounded by a concerning groin injury for Tom Trbojevic. The Sea Eagles and NSW Origin selectors will be sweating on the results of scans on the 26-year-old, who hobbled off the field late in the second half.

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Jake had plenty of reasons to be in less than his usually bubbly mood after the game, but showed his class after being asked during an interview on Fox League's Sunday Night with Matty Johns whether he felt any “sadness or empathy" for the winless Tigers. The Tim Sheens-coached Tigers have now become the first team since the Rabbitohs in 2008 to lose their first seven games of the season.

The embarrassing 15-year first leaves the joint-venture outfit rooted to the bottom of the ladder and searching for answers after another soul-crushing loss to Manly. The oldest of the Trbojevic brothers says he can relate to a winless start to the season with Manly, and insisted the Tigers had plenty to feel proud about after a gutsy display against his side.

“I’ve been going for them (the Tigers) for the last few weeks,” Trbojevic said. “In 2021 we started 0-4 and honestly I nearly thought about retiring.

"I hope they can get a win soon. I hope they get a win soon because after performances like today, they deserve it.

“It wasn’t our best performance, but you have to give credit to the Tigers. They dominated field position today. They really wanted it. They came out to play.”

Seen here, Jahream Bula is tackled on his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers against Manly.
Jahream Bula impressed on his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers against Manly. Pic: Getty (Mark Kolbe via Getty Images)

While the Tigers have plenty to be encouraged about, the brutal reality is they could well find themselves 0-8 after the next round, with a match against the two-time defending premiers Penrith in round nine. Rookie fullback Jahream Bula impressed on debut, with plenty of involvements in the first half and a brilliant escape from his own in-goal after the break.

But like so often for Tigers fans, the hope was short-lived, as Saab's late try consigned the joint-venture to a 12th straight loss, stretching back to the end of last season. "It's been like that for a number of weeks," Tigers coach Tim Sheens said.

"If we weren't putting an effort in, I would be disappointed. If we weren't staying in a game I would be disappointed. There's improvement. I am still happy with the way everyone's attitude is. It's always execution."

Tom Trbojevic injured again in worrying scenes for Manly

Despite sitting second on the ladder, Manly have their own concerns with centre Brad Parker also injured and five-eighth Josh Schuster looking ginger in his return from a quad injury. Undoubtedly though, it's the latest injury blow to Tom Trbojevic that will worry Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold the most.

"He's twinged his groin. They didn't feel as though it was serious," the Manly coach said after the game. "He felt as though he could have kept on going.

"But he knows his body well and thought it was best to come off rather than hurt his body further. He will be frustrated; I know talking to him he is frustrated. But it was quite innocuous."

Pictured here, an injured Tom Trbojevic during Manly's win over the Wests Tigers.
Tom Trbojevic picked up a groin injury during Manly's win over the Wests Tigers. Image: Getty

With his fitness a worry in recent weeks, the fullback was chased down by Tigers forward Stefano Utoikamanu in the first half and didn't go the distance from a linebreak later on. However, Manly are adamant the 2021 Dally M Medallist has not had other setbacks this year, after a frustrating four seasons with hamstring and shoulder injuries.

"I was behind him when the incident happened. On a wet dewy night, it was so innocuous," Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans said. "I feel like that's something that is not uncommon on a wet dewy night. I reckon he was pretty unlucky."

with AAP

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