Trbojevic OK with being an Origin target

·2-min read

Tom Trbojevic has heard the Queensland claims that he will be easier to defend in the centres this year than he was when he tore them apart in 2019.

And frankly, he doesn't care.

Trbojevic looms as the biggest X-factor in the State of Origin series opener, hitting game one in the best form of any player in the NRL.

The last time he played an Origin series, in 2019, he scored a hat-trick as a centre with a roving commission in the second game before the Maroons found a way to limit his impact in the decider.

It prompted Trbojevic's Manly captain and Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans to tell AAP last month that they would again be better prepared to handle him this year.

"It wasn't until after the game where we identified how well they implemented the game plan to suit Tom," Cherry-Evans said at the time.

"I am sure if they get the chance again to have Tom in the side they will implement a game plan that's going to maximise his strengths.

"But we will be better prepared for it if he does."

But as far as Trbojevic is concerned, those threats mean little.

"I don't take that into account," Trbojevic said.

"I've got a role in this team so it's about going out there and doing that.

"I've done it before early in my career and I've done it before at Origin level so I'm familiar with it.

"I've just got to take it head-on."

Stopping Trbojevic will no doubt be a key for the Maroons in Townsville.

The Manly No.1 has set up 13 tries and scored eight of his own in just seven games this year, judged man-of-the-match in five of his first six games back from injury.

Second-rower-turned-centre Kurt Capewell could be the man charged with stopping him, with the Penrith star training on the left edge on Sunday morning.

"He's definitely never easy to contain, terrific player and I don't think it matters what position he plays, he's pretty good," Capewell said.

"Just don't give him the opportunities, play down their end when he gets the ball and try and shut him down as quick as possible."

But the Maroons do at least hope the different number on Trbojevic's back will make life easier.

"You can't really stop those guys. Maybe just limit their time and at centre it helps with Capes and Gags (Dane Gagai) to stop him there," second-rower Jaydn Su'A said.

"He doesn't touch the ball as much (at centre) so that helps, but he's a threat anywhere on the field."

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