Trbojevic leading from the front
He might be the youngest man in the Sea Eagles pack, but Jake Trbojevic has proven that he is easily one of the toughest.
The 22-year-old Mona Vale Raiders junior was a mainstay in a Manly Holden Cup side that struggled during his time in the under-20s.
Coming up against much bigger bodies, Trbojevic more than held his own, and was rewarded with a spot in the 2013 Holden Cup Team of the Year in the front row. And even now, he is still one of the smaller 'big men' in the game.
Trbojevic started 2016 at prop, making 180 metres and 39 tackles in a 59-minute performance, but has since been shifted to lock, where his minutes have steadily increased. With so many talented forwards playing by his side, it's a move he was happy to make.
"It's pretty similar playing front row. I obviously like playing a few minutes, so that was enjoyable to play the full 80 [on Monday night]," he said.
"Look at our forward pack, it's littered with international experience. There's a lot of experience there with guys like Nate Myles, Martin Taupau and Lewis Brown. We get a lot of confidence from our senior players."
Trbojevic has already churned out 131 tackles three rounds into the 2016 season, but it's his technique that has attracted most attention.
While the modern-day player prefers to go high, the Manly tackling machine chooses to follow in the footsteps of the old-school forward by tackling around the legs.
"I guess growing up that's the way I tackled," Trbojevic told NRL.com.
"When I played for Mona Vale, our coach Steve Wilson used to teach us to tackle like that and I've just kept doing it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but I just like doing it."
Jake Trbojevic has the added bonus of playing with his younger brother Tom, who has excelled in the outside backs since debuting last year against the Raiders.
It's not the first time Manly has been blessed with a pair of brothers – one that can play fullback and the other at lock – but the eldest Trbojevic thinks it's too early to be compared to club legends Brett and Glenn Stewart.
"It would be nice, but we're a long way off that," he said.
"I think we've played 30 games together. They played 400, so I think we're well off that. But it'd be nice if that happened."
Jake has been proud of the way his younger brother has made the transition from NYC star to regular first-grader, but couldn't help making fun of the fact that he opened his 2016 account before Tom.
"I don't think he's used to me having more tries than him. It only lasted five minutes, but it was a good five minutes."
Tom Trbojevic says it was great to see his brother leading so well from the front, but admits he was stung by being beaten on the scoreboard.
"Yeah I'm not too sure I'm too happy with him scoring a try before me. It hurts a little bit," Tom joked.
"It's good for him. He has been playing well and to get a try really sealed his performance."