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Tom Trbojevic horror show capped off by 'inexcusable' moment in Manly's NRL defeat

Manly put in an attacking horror show as St George Illawarra claimed a 20-12 victory on Saturday.

Tom Trbojevic and Manly had an Easter Saturday to forget after a laughably underwhelming performance against the Dragons in their 20-12 loss. A fortnight ago the Sea Eagles had started the new NRL season two from two and looking like a team to be reckoned with.

But two weeks on they have as many wins as they do losses and put together one of the worst displays in recent history against wooden spoon contenders on Saturday. Incredibly, the Sea Eagles had 53 per cent of possession in their eight-point loss but wasted it, completing at just 65 per cent.

Pictured Tom Trbojevic
Tom Trbojevic and Manly Sea Eagles put in an attacking horror show as St George Illawarra claimed a 20-12 victory on Saturday. Image: Getty

And almost most concerning of all was the array of errors from their star fullback, who continued to put the breaks on promising attacks with uncharacteristic mistakes. Trbojevic didn’t seem himself, despite still making 158m in 14 runs and producing a line break assist and a try assist early on.

Trbojevic made four errors in the eight-point defeat, with repeated dropped balls and misplaced passes. His night was capped off by a brain fade in the second half as Manly looked to mount an attack with just 27 minutes remaining. The star fullback took off out of dummy half before passing the ball to Haumole Olakau'atu who was in front of him.

The forward pass left the commentary team gobsmacked. "Tom has just phoned this in — what was he thinking?" Greg Alexander said. "He simply wasn’t focused and still handed it off as Olakau’atu trotted past."

Tom Trbojevic
Tom Trbojevic's horror night was capped off by a brain fade in the second half as Manly looked to mount an attack with just 27 minutes remaining, throwing the ball to his second rower in front of him. Image: Fox Sports

Andrew Voss added: "The replay makes this look even worse. Anthony Seibold is wondering is this a Fine Cotton Scandal, is this the real horse or have I got a fake here? What’s happened here? Is this Tom Trbojevic or is this a double? Cut-priced Tom Trbojevic, the Aldi version."

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After starting fast with a fantastic offload to send Tolutau Koula over in the corner in the third minute, it looked as if the No.1 was going to have a field day but instead put together a horror performance. And fans were quick to question if the Manly fullback is carrying an injury after a howler of a match.

Anthony Seibold puzzled by Manly's underwhelming performance

Speaking after the match, Anthony Seibold said they only have theirselves to blame after a dismal display. "Despite a solid prep into this game, we failed in our execution … we only have ourselves to blame," Seibold admitted.

"The Dragons were superior tonight and our performance merited the outcome. They hustled us into errors, and they totally deserved the win. We trailed by quite a margin, to be honest."

The Dragons were far from perfect in the win, making 15 errors themselves, however, it was their defense that won them the match. Following the game, Shane Flanagan said the heart and determination was great to see after the team had "thrown in the towel" in their loss to the Cowboys last week.

"Our performance was mediocre, particularly in the second half where our completion rate was dreadful," Flanagan said. "But our defense demonstrated real resilience and consistently repelled the Sea Eagles. Managing to restrict a talented side like the Sea Eagles to six points for much of the game is a feat we should be proud of."

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Shane Flanagan head coach of the Dragons is interviewed before the round four NRL match between St George Illawarra Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, on March 30, 2024, in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Shane Flanagan said the Dragons' heart and determination was great to see after the team had "thrown in the towel" in their loss to the Cowboys last week. (Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images)