Trbojevic runs riot, sets up Origin battle

·3-min read

Tom Trbojevic will make himself available for NSW but insists he cannot beat James Tedesco to fullback despite showing his impact again in Manly's 40-6 flogging of Wests Tigers.

Trbojevic's magical return for the Sea Eagles continued on Sunday, with the No.1 playing a big part in four tries in just his second week back from a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old turned it on in a crucial five-minute period before half-time, where Manly went from 6-0 down to 18-6 up in the space of just three sets.

It prompted former Blues State of Origin hooker Michael Ennis to declare in Fox commentary that Trbojevic should be Blues No.1 ahead of Tedesco, labelling the Sea Eagle's return the best fortnight he had ever seen.

But while Trbojevic shot down any suggestion he could be withdrawn from Origin consideration by Manly due to his history of injuries, he said any call-up would not be at fullback.

"Of course you want to play State of Origin. That's not a hard question to answer at all," Trbojevic said, with five games to play before Origin selection.

"Teddy's well and truly got that spot locked up. He's been the best No.1 for however many years."

Trbojevic also laughed off Andrew Johns' suggestion he could play at five-eighth for the Blues, certain that if he is picked it will again be to play out wide.

The Origin questions are likely to continue, but what is beyond debate is the 24-year-old's impact on Manly, as he helped condemn the Tigers to their worst ever start to a season.

Manly are now a whopping 17.5 points better off with him in the side since the start of 2019, while they have won 16 of 21 with him in that time.

After Luciano Leilua gave the Tigers an early lead on Sunday, Trbojevic stood up in attack while Daly Cherry-Evans also bagged a double and kicked a 40-20.

Cherry-Evans' first came when Josh Schuster skipped, stepped and forced his way through the line and put the halfback over with a no-look ball.

In the next set it was time for Trbojevic.

Twice he bust through the line, with Cherry-Evans the beneficiary on the first and Taupau the second after the halfback juggled a pass and cost himself a hat-trick.

After the break, Trbojevic claimed his 50th try while in support play from a Haumole Olakau'atu bust, before putting on a quick ball for Reuben Garrick to score.

It made it three straight for the Sea Eagles, with Manly now 3-4 and their horror first month, while Trbojevic was on the sidelines, virtually made up for.

"It was obviously very hard, it's been the story of the past couple of years for me," Trbojevic said.

"When we're not going well you put it a bit on yourself because you can't be out there helping.

"It's hard, like you take any fullback out of any side - they're not going to be as good as they were before."