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For two months we've watched Tom Trbojevic transform Manly from cellar dwellers into premiership contenders but only now did we realise how much NSW missed him in last year's State of Origin series. 

Trbojevic's freakish efforts in Wednesday night's record-breaking 50-6 win started from the opening set of the match when he took two runs to get the Blues on the front foot.

Advantage Turbo early, and from there, it was the Trbojevic show.

Making a welcome return to the Origin arena after missing last year's series through injury, Trbojevic's efforts left many in awe of his man-of-the-match performance at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. 

The silky smooth Sea Eagle created his own position on Wednesday night, according to many former NSW and Queensland greats, with Cameron Smith marvelling at his efforts post-match. 

Turbo Tom is Queensland's nightmare fuel

"At no stage did he play in the centres tonight," the former Maroons skipper said on Channel Nine.

Whether it was a plan to have Trbojevic roaming around the paddock on his way to 20 carries and three tries, the Maroons clearly had no answers for it.

"There's stuff he has to do for the team," NSW coach Brad Fittler said.

"Once we started to get on top you could see we were finishing our sets well and we were putting them under pressure with where they were getting the ball back and it brings that sort of play, it allows players to do that, to roam a little bit and he just took advantage.

Maroons v Blues

"That's the biggest thing, we talk about stuff you have to do for the team and he's just a really good decision-maker at the moment.

"He's doing it for Manly obviously. There was a few of them doing that, there were a few blokes out there all in sync."

NSW halfback Nathan Cleary offered a similar view, amazed at Trbojevic's ability to dominate the game from all over the park.

"I just kind of see him pop up and let him do his thing," Cleary said.

"He is a freak of a footy player. He has a really good feel for the game. He even ended up left back-row a couple of times. Just knows where to go to get the ball."

Cleary's opposite number, Maroons halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, sees Turbo's influence first hand at club level every week and knew what to expect but stopping it is another matter.

"I don't think we realised how much he was going to be in the picture tonight but now we understand where it's all at," Cherry-Evans said.

"There's a way to limit it. He's obviously going to be involved, he's one of those players that he's just continually going to put himself in the picture.

"I think – well, I know – we will be far better prepared. But again, do you stop it? No, not really, but you can limit it, and we didn't even limit it tonight. It was just a free-for-all.

"He couldn't be far off [the best player in the game]. I see first-hand how he plays for Manly and I've seen first-hand against [him] what everyone else has been trying to stop for the last six weeks."

Turbo Tom at it again as he kicks for Mitchell

The man himself was typically modest post-match, despite producing one of the most dominant performances by a centre in Origin history.

"I think we started the game really well," Trbojevic said.

"To put it on in the second half was pretty special. It was a quick game. it kind of suited me. I went roaming. I try to support and do my best. 

"It's always nice to finish like that. I'm glad I'm back. We'll enjoy this and move onto the next game."

Apart from his own hat-trick, Trbojevic also produced a superb grubber kick to set up Latrell Mitchell's first try in the 48th minute to snuff out any dreams the Maroons had of a comeback.

Trbojevic then finished off a line break from Jarome Luai in a typical fullback support play, before finishing off a piece of James Tedesco brilliance to round out his treble.

"To watch him put the left foot drubber kick in for Latrell to score a try, you just don't see that much," Fittler said.

"It brought me a lot of joy."

Eighth immortal Andrew Johns said it was "frightening" how far Trbojevic's career could go after his latest heroics at the Origin level.

"We know the injury drama he's had with his hamstring but this year he's just gone to a whole new level," Johns said.

"In Perth a couple of years ago he scored three tries and two of them are off Tedesco. Have a look tonight, you've got two of the best players in the world, two of the best fullbacks in the world playing together and Tom has been everywhere.

"Where he could get in the game, if he stays injury-free, is frightening. He has just been on another planet tonight."


Origin II in Brisbane is sold out but tickets are still on sale for game three at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14 - get your tickets at

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