Local juniors from the Mona Vale Raiders, brothers Jake and Tom Trbojevic are an inspiration and an asset to the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
Jake and Tom are excited at having signed with the Sea Eagles for another two years, which is a great pathway for the local juniors. Since they were young they aspired to one day be like Andrew Johns, who now helps them as Manly assistant coach.
The Trbojevics are very much a rugby league family, father John having played junior league for Narrabeen Sharks.
Jake, 23, is the eldest of four boys with Tom being next in line at 18. The third eldest Luke is a football referee and cricket player and the youngest Ben plays for the Mona Vale Raiders, and it seems is quickly following in Jake and Tom’s footsteps.
Jake and Tom are an inspiration to many young players on and off the field demonstrating that it is possible to study or work while playing rugby league.
Jake, who is in his final year at UTS studying a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Management, said he has found the study manageable and completes two or three subjects each semester. He has plans to continue with studies next year as he enjoys them and said they give him something else to think about away from football, as well as offers the chance to meet new people.
Each club has a Welfare Manager and Career Coach and Jake spoke highly of the benefits of having Luke Williamson and Judy Fitzgerald available to him.
"They are always there to instill the right things into us and are always helping out all the boys."
Judy Fitzgerald, Manly's Career Coach, said: "Jake is a humble and unassuming young man and is someone who takes everything in his stride. He's usually quiet unless he has something of value to add, which is often, and means he's always 'heard' by others.
"He's part of our Welfare and Education Committee and makes valuable contributions on behalf of the younger NRL players. Last year he completed a practical assessment for his university qualification with our media and marketing team - the feedback from our Director of Operations was 'if all our employees were like Jake, we'd be very, very happy'."
Tom debuted in round five this season where he scored a try in the first two minutes, followed by another. It was naturally a special moment.
"Surreal actually, something I had dreamed about when growing up," he said.
"All my family were in Albury to watch this moment which was pretty cool as this was the first competition game Jake and I had played together."
Tom is in his first year of an Economics and Finance degree at Macquarie University. He also endorsed the importance of the Holden Cup philosophy of "no work, no study, no play" as an important backup plan because not everyone makes it to full-time professional status in the NRL.
Fitzgerald said: "It must be a family trait, because Tom is also very pragmatic and unassuming. In alignment with the theory of his university course he is being mentored by, and doing part-time work for Pete Driscoll from Prestige Worldwide Financial Group. Pete says he’s an amazing young man who grasps things quickly and has much to offer."