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Sea Eagles back-rower Jake Trbojevic.

Jake Trbojevic made 59 tackles in two Test matches late last year that he probably didn't need to make.

After making 1,069 tackles for the Manly Sea Eagles during the NRL season – his sixth in first grade – his right shoulder really needed a rest. In fact it needed surgery.

But Trbojevic's love for rugby league wouldn't allow him to pull the pin prematurely.

So he put up his hand to play for Australia against New Zealand and then Tonga.

Then he succumbed to his shoulder and underwent his first reconstruction.

"I knew if I played those Test matches that I'd probably pay for it. But at the time I didn’t worry about it – it wasn't I my head," he told NRL.com.

The surgery was a success but Trbojevic will not be part of the Sea Eagles side in round one to play the Storm at Lottoland.

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His younger brother Tom will be there as his left pectoral muscle has fully healed.

"I'll be back within the first month but it won't be the first round unfortunately," Jake said.

But Trbojevic – also an integral part of the NSW Origin team – says his shoulder should last the distance in 2020 and beyond.

"The surgeons said that this type of surgery makes the shoulder very strong once it's fully recovered. So that puts me in a really good place mentally," he said.

"I know it's stable and I won't have any worries with it."

For now, he's trying to follow all the instructions from the Manly medical team even though his first instinct is to get back into the tackle bags as soon as possible.

"You want to play but it's a long year. If it's our choice you’d be out there as soon as possible," he said.

"But you've got medical staff and coaches who handle it more professionally.

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"The fact it's early in the year and it’s a long year there's no point in rushing."

Trbojevic has been doing running drills but no contact.

"It's strength in the joint that will let me know I'm ready," he said.

"You do contact progressions that lead up to the full tackling, which I've yet to get to.

"But in the gym I notice the biggest difference. I know the weights I used to lift and those targets – and I'm obviously a long way off yet.

"I'm back to full running and I've just started back playing golf.

"Hopefully swinging the club helps with my range of movement."

Otherwise, Trbojevic is dreaming of an even better Manly season in 2020 than the fine ride 2019 gave the club – from 15th on the ladder to sixth and finals footy.

"I just want Manly to be successful. Last year we were heading in the right direction and we call got from some confidence from it," he said.

"But we want to compete with those top-four sides - really  give them a run for their money."