Co-captaincy on the cards at Manly in 2017
The departure of Manly great Jamie Lyon at the end of the season has opened the door for replacement skipper Jake Trbojevic to take over the role permanently in 2017, but Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett has revealed he might not be the only candidate.
Speaking at the club's training base in Narrabeen on Tuesday morning, the rookie coach indicated he was open to the idea of co-captains for next year and beyond, nominating Jamie Buhrer as the man most likely to share the role.
Several clubs have adopted a similar model in the past, with Lyon and former Sea Eagles teammate Jason King named Captains of the Year at the 2012 Dally M Awards.
"I don't have a preferred model," Barrett said.
"I think the co-captain model does work when you've got a young bloke like we've done this year with Jamie and Jake. Whether we go down that path, I'm not 100 per cent sure yet.
"We've used Jake and Jamie this year on and off when 'Killer' has been out. I'm not in a great hurry to decide that. We'll wait and see how things pan out over the pre-season."
Barrett paid Trbojevic the ultimate compliment, comparing his leadership style to Lyon's, but was quick to add that he wouldn't burden the 22-year-old with the captaincy if he wasn't sure he could handle it.
"He's a bit like Jamie (Lyon) actually. They're pretty unassuming guys. He doesn't say a lot, but he leads by example," Barrett said.
"He is still only young and I won't be throwing him to the wolves either. There are still some really good older heads at the club so we'll make that decision at the backend of the pre-season."
Trbojevic admitted he was apprehensive ahead of his first game in charge, but revealed some sage advice from Lyon helped put him at ease.
"I thought it was going to be pretty hard, but the first few games I quite enjoyed it," Trbojevic said.
"We've got heaps of leaders in the team so it made it a bit easier because they all helped me out.
"He (Lyon) obviously gave me a few words of advice because I was a bit nervous, but it's something I really enjoy doing.
"When I was a bit nervous, he said being captain makes you a better player. [He told me] to play my natural game and that sort of thing [because] the other players help you out on the field."
While he might be the big chief on the field, Jake hasn't been able to assert the same authority at home over younger brother – and teammate – Tom Trbojevic.
"He's tried to boss me around at home but we know that doesn't happen," Tom cheekily quipped.
"You wouldn't believe it but he's probably one of the loudest on the field. Getting the opportunity to be captain is a great honour for him and a great honour for our family."
For Buhrer, having the opportunity to captain the Sea Eagles would be a dream come true.
The 26-year-old is in his seventh season on the northern beaches and is in career-best form following a wretched run with injuries.
The Hills Bulls junior was full of praise for Trbojevic and said he would be proud to follow in the footsteps of club greats to have skippered the Sea Eagles in the past.
"He's just the type of leader – very much like Jamie Lyon – they lead mostly by their actions," Buhrer said.
"You just have to look at the relatively short career that Jake's had so far and the impact that he's had on the field for the team.
"It's a club I grew up supporting so it's always been a dream. As you develop as a player, I suppose you fall into a leadership role. It's been a lot later in coming at this club because we've had so many great senior players, and we still do."
It seems the shared model sits well with the playing group, with Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans endorsing the co-captaincy arrangement.
"I'm a big advocate for having them as our co-captains next year," Cherry-Evans said.
"I definitely feel a sense of security knowing that if Jamie Lyon's not running me out then I've got two people that are well respected amongst this playing group to lead us out."