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Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.

Manly star Jake Trbojevic has backed his brother Tom to return from a hamstring injury and press his claims for an Origin berth.

Manly's injury woes grew worse in round 16, with winger Reuben Garrick (shoulder) and departing back-rower Joel Thompson (ankle) each ruled out for the season.

"We will see him this year, it's just taking time," Jake said of his brother's injury.

"It's so frustrating. The fact that it's his third time he's done it they're being very cautious but we'll see him this year. We'd love to have him out there, he's a big part of our team and we've missed having him on the field."

With Tom now expected back for just the final two games of the regular season, Jake backed him to press for a chance to retain his Origin jersey.

Manly hooker hoping to stay on in 2021

"Knowing Tom, he wants to be in the Blues side," Jake added.

"He's been there the last couple of years and performed really well.

"If he gets the opportunity he'll put his best foot forward. Even last year Freddy [coach Brad Fittler] picked him after he'd done his hammy, he only played two games then played really good in Perth so he's shown he can play really well with not much footy under his belt.

"We'll definitely get him back for at least a couple of games so he'll have a chance to show what he can do. It will be up to the selectors."

Thompson's ankle injury means he has played his last NRL game before heading to St Helens next season, with Trbojevic and Lachlan Croker each paying tribute.

He's shown he can play really well with not much footy under his belt

Jake Trbojevic on brother Tom

"He's been awesome. It's really sad to see the way it's ended, he's been such a great club man over the years at all his clubs," Trbojevic said.

"Canberra previously and St George then coming to Manly, he's such a great leader, really leads by example.

"He's such a great player, someone who puts his heart out there every week. He'll admit he's probably not the most talented player but just out of toughness he rips in every week.

"He's someone you want to play alongside and I'm privileged to say over the last three years I got to do that."

Croker described Thompson as being the sort of player you tell your kids you played with.

"It's pretty heartbreaking, to be honest," Croker said.

"He's one of the first guys you'd pick in your team every week and one of those guys you'll tell your kids about that you played with.

Tom and Jake Trbojevic after NSW's win over Queensland in Perth.
Tom and Jake Trbojevic after NSW's win over Queensland in Perth. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"Anyone you ask would say the same thing and knowing Thommo as a person that would be one of the things he's most proud of is how much the boys loved playing with him. As a player, I feel like that's the highest accolade you can get."

In an otherwise tough year, a rare chance to play some consistent footy after an injury-ravaged start to his career has been a silver lining for Croker.

"I can't tell you the last time I played 16 games in a row. Probably under-18s," Croker said.

"In a year full of lows there's definitely positives to take out of it and that's one of those for me," he said.

"I'm extremely grateful to be able to play every week. It's not something I take lightly. It's the same with most guys who have done some injuries, they're just grateful to be out there playing.

"Unfortunately results haven't been what we wanted them to but it is what it is."

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