Tom Trbojevic in sad Brad Fittler admission after handing critics reality check

The Manly fullback is working his way back to fitness.

Manly star Tom Trbojevic (pictured right) has admitted it was tough to see Brad Fittler (pictured left) leave as Blues coach. (Getty Images)
Manly star Tom Trbojevic (pictured right) has admitted it was tough to see Brad Fittler (pictured left) leave as Blues coach. (Getty Images)

Manly star Tom Trbojevic has sent a message to his NRL critics ahead of the 2024 season and admitted he was disappointed over Brad Fittler's Blues exit. Trbojevic has been dealing with the outside pressure after he injured himself again in 2023, which saw him go down with a pectoral muscle injury in the Blues' Game II loss to the Maroons in State of Origin.

There has been calls for the Manly fullback to potentially switch to centre, which could see him avoid the extra workload and avoid muscle injuries that have held him back for years. However, ahead of the 2024 season, Trbojevic has emphatically shut this theory down.

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The 2021 Dally M winner said it was funny fans have called for a change because he went down injured while playing at centre for the Blues. “It’s interesting because I think I hurt myself in the centres so I don’t know about that one,” Trbojevic said.

“Other people are entitled to their opinions and they can say what they want so I don’t have to comment on them.” Trbojevic has bulked up ahead of the 2024 season, which has seen him do plenty of work in the off season getting his body right for another rigorous NRL campaign.

When fit, Trbojevic was a mainstay in the Blues team under former coach Fittler. Unfortunately, after two straight series losses, Fittler stepped down as Michael Maguire took over the reins. And Trbojevic has admitted he spoke to the Blues great over his departure.

“I’ve spoken to him briefly,” he said. “Obviously I’m really disappointed for him because I really enjoyed playing for NSW under him. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do that anymore, but Madge is an awesome coach and has done some really good things at club land and for New Zealand as well.

"I’m sure he’ll do a really good job (for the Blues). I haven’t had much to do with him, but I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to know him more. It’s still a little while away.”

Tom Trbojevic walks off injured.
Tom Trbojevic (pictured) said he has returned ready for the new season after injuring himself in State of Origin. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Manly lock down Haumole Olakau'atu

While Trbojevic will hand Manly a boost for the 2024 season, the club also moved to lock down another key player. Coach Anthony Seibold said securing the services of Haumole Olakau'atu in the off-season was a priority as he is confident that the back-rower can develop into one of the game's best players.

The Sea Eagles made Olakau'atu the NRL's latest $8 million-dollar-man on Thursday, extending his contract until the end of 2031. Olakau'atu was already contracted to the club until the end of 2025, but the Sea Eagles moved to prevent him from going on the open market.

"We feel that Haumole's best years are ahead of him and that he can develop into an elite player who can play at State of Origin level for the NSW Blues," Seibold said. "He has already played at Test level for Tonga but he is at that part of his career now where he can play State of Origin.

"If he plays State of Origin, it means he is playing consistently. That's his narrow focus, being consistent at Manly. Haumole is a high-quality player and we love having him. The club has invested in his long-term career and we want Haumole to be a one-club player."

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