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Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.

He may be 'parked' behind James Tedesco and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to some extent but Tom Trbojevic has the figures to help bring Manly its first Dally M fullback of the year since Matthew Ridge.

Yes it was all the way back in the last century (well, 1995 to be exact) that the Sea Eagles had a No.1 lucky enough to win that honour.

'The Prince of Brookvale' as Brett Stewart was known, was stuck behind Anthony Minichiello, Jarryd Hayne and Billy Slater in his illustrious career and never got his hands on the Dally M fullback statuette despite 163 tries in 233 games for Manly.

Stewart was also limited to just six appearances for the NSW Blues due to Minichiello, Hayne and Kurt Gidley.

Trbojevic made his NSW debut in the 2018 Holden State of Origin series – all three appearances on the wing as Tedesco had the No.1 jersey sewn up.

And that's despite Trbojevic having equal tries with Tedesco for the NRL Telstra Premiership season (nine) and more line breaks (19 to 15). The lanky Manly fullback had more try assists, tackle breaks and line breaks than Tuivasa-Sheck, who ended up with the positional Dally M trophy - and then went on to win overall player of the year.

Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic.
Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"Look you don’t play the game for individual accolades but obviously when you are rewarded with them it’s very special,"  Trbojevic said on the possibility of him winning fullback of the year.

"But it all comes back to playing good footy at Manly. And your team has got to play good footy.

"That’s our team focus. We want to win more games here at Lottoland because it’s heart and soul Manly territory."

As for the seemingly immovable object of Tedesco as NSW No.1, Trbojevic is just thrilled he gets to pull on the sky blue jersey.

"I'm happy to play anywhere for Manly or for NSW. I do enjoy playing fullback but the Blues have already got a great player there at fullback in Teddy," he said.

"I was given the opportunity by Freddy [coach Brad Fittler] to play on the wing and I'm perfectly fine with that.

"I just enjoy playing footy and it is incredible to play at that level."

It's also a delight to watch the swerving running style of Trbojevic in full flight. It's as if he is coming off the bend in the 200m or 400m on the athletics track.

"I used to do a bit of beach sprinting when I was a kid for Mona Vale nippers," he said.

"It's funny because Clayton [Kearney, sprint coach] who does our running training at Manly, I used to do a lot with him when I was growing up.

"Another bloke I owe a bit to is Rubin [Ruzicka] who used to be at Manly but is now at the Roosters [athletic development coach].

"So growing up and working with those two, and to see them now involved with NRL footy teams, I suppose I count myself lucky I came under their wings early.

"My running style has come more naturally to me I think, rather than me consciously trying to develop any kind of weaving or acceleration." Invitational - Trbojevic Brothers

Still as custodian, Trbojevic is the last line of defence. While his attacking ability is unquestioned with 114 tackle breaks and 14 try assists, alongside his nine tries, he wants to sharpen his defence.

Thirty-five missed tackles may be up there with other top-flight No.1s (Tuivasa-Sheck missed 40) but Trbojevic still wants improvement.

However, Roosters centre and NSW teammate Latrell Mitchell is his worst nightmare as an opposition fullback.

"I don’t like the thought of seeing him in open space and heading my way."

As for who he hates seeing come rushing at him at Sea Eagles training?

"Addin Fonua-Blake. He's got great footwork and he' a big body."


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