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How 'Miracle Men' of Manly defied odds to make early returns

They are Manly's "miracle men".

Addin Fonua-Blake and Jake Trbojevic each underwent shoulder reconstructions after they played end-of-season Tests for Tonga and Australia respectively.

They were each told in November they would probably miss up to a month of the 2020 season as their rehab had started later than usual.

"Our rehab team led by Cam Ferguson got me back into shape real fast. He did plenty of overtime with me and Jake," Fonua-Blake said, after he played for 51 minutes, made 11 runs over 108 metres and 26 tackles against the Storm to open his year.

"I trained at 100 per cent all the time. And I had a few sessions of contact, so I was confident. The boys here are as big as any in the comp and they ran right at me.

"The only thing I was nervous about was match fitness as I had no trial games. But I felt pretty good afterwards."

Fonua-Blake wears face mask as Manly prepare for comp to continue

Trbojevic said his surgeons originally told him "two to three weeks into the season" was when he could expect to take the field.

"But the team had a few injuries and I really wanted to play because it was round one at home against Melbourne," he said.

"So I went in to see the surgeon [about 10 days before the game] and asked 'Is there any chance?'

"And they do these isometric tests on your shoulder for strength and range and he said the shoulder was looking sweet.

"So it progressed from there. And Cam did all the weights with us and he pushed us hard – it was a good challenge.

Round 1 tackle of the week

"We both weren't expecting it but we got to round one."

Trbojevic was back to his trademark best with a game-high 49 tackles against Melbourne.

This weekend won't be any easier. Instead of Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona running at him, he'll have Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Trboejvic wore specific strapping on his right shoulder and expects to wear it all season.

"I didn't even think about it to be honest. It was just great to be out there with all the adrenalin and that kind of thing," he said.

Having no spectators will be strange indeed at Leichhardt Oval for these two teams who fought out the 2013 grand final.

"That's fine to have no crowds. I had that in under-20s, SG Ball and reserve grade and all that kind of stuff," Trbojevic said.

"I just want to play."