Tom Trbojevic has moved to reassure Manly fans he isn't going anywhere after he was spotted at a Canberra cafe this week. A photo of the Sea Eagles superstar was doing the rounds on social media, showing Trbojevic enjoying a coffee in the nation's capital.
It sparked all sorts of wild rumours that Trbojevic was having a meeting with Ricky Stuart about a potential switch to the Raiders. The State of Origin star was reportedly seen a number of times in the Canberra suburb of Braddon, and Canberra CEO Don Furner even noticed him around town.
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The fact Trbojevic was sitting with another man at the popular Eighty/Twenty cafe - about 100 metres from the Raiders’ Centre of Excellence in Braddon - got the rumour mill into overdrive. But Trbojevic has since moved to hose down the speculation, revealing the real reason for his visit to Canberra.
Why is Tom Trbojevic in Canberra? 👀 pic.twitter.com/XZoWY80kjM
— Michael Schirripa (@michaeleugeni14) September 21, 2023
In a text message to the Daily Telegraph he said: “That’s our mindset coach at Manly, Andrew May. He is running a workshop down here for the Defence Force and I’m the guest speaker, haha.” Stuart also laughed off the speculation when contacted by the Canberra Times.
Trbojevic hasn't played since rupturing his pectoral muscle while playing for NSW in State of Origin II. It was the second year running that the 26-year-old has suffered a season-ending injury after dislocating his shoulder last season.
Should Tom Trbojevic do away with representative footy?
The superstar fullback has endured a wretched run of injuries over the last two years after winning the Dally M medal in 2021. Calls are now growing for Trbojevic to follow in Kalyn Ponga's footsteps and give away representative football to focus on his club.
Ponga withdrew himself from contention for State of Origin this year, allowing Reece Walsh to shine at fullback for the Maroons. It also freed up Ponga to focus solely on the Knights, who he led to the finals in a staggering late season surge.
“I am the biggest fan of Tom Trbojevic in a Blues jersey and I’m there cheering just as hard as the next NSW supporter and I still recall his stunning 2021 Origin series,” journalist David Riccio said last month. “But the time has come for Tom to consider what Kalyn Ponga has been able to do for Newcastle this year on the back of stepping down from State of Origin and putting his club first.
"Tom is again missing for now what is a mad scramble for Manly to make this top eight. They are long odds and Tom is such a major influence to that footy side that winning a premiership surely now supersedes what he has already achieved in the Blues jumper for NSW.
"Injury after injury is what Tommy has copped through the State of Origin period. He is their highest paid player. There is no greater investment at Manly than Tom Trbojevic at $1.2 million. And the time has come I believe that he should have some deep thinking about next year only for a year and let’s see what comes out of a 25 game Tom Trbojevic and the Manly Sea Eagles.”
Paul Crawley responded: “I agree that this would be in Manly’s best interests, but I don’t believe it is in the game’s best interests. It was always the NSW or Queensland doctor that made a determination if a player was ready for Origin or not. All the clubs receive payback for the fact that Origin is the biggest thing in the game.”
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