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Biggest win without Turbo: Garrick steps up to give Manly a Plan B

Manly's huge win over the Cowboys was significant for being the best Turbo-less performance since the champion fullback debuted in 2015.

And a large slice of the credit for the 50-18 result should go to the impressive work of stand-in Reuben Garrick at the back.

The 32-point margin was easily their biggest win since Trbojevic's 2015 debut with Garrick running for 324 metres (including a length-of-the-field try) and crucially providing a steady presence at the back as Manly overturned an early 12-0 deficit.

"I've been working on it a bit at training and in pre-season," Garrick said.

"You know this time of year Tom's going to be playing Origin and it will be hard for him to back up because he does such big miles in Origin as well and puts everything into playing for the Blues.

"It's something we've worked towards and been training a lot, I've done a lot of video and tried to get better at the position because it's something foreign to me.

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"There's still plenty to work on, there were so many times out there I buggered some things up and miscommunication between Chez (Daly Cherry-Evans), Foz (Kieran Foran) and myself so there's still a lot to work on.

"But it was encouraging and it helps that there are experienced halves there and Lachie Croker as well, they're all directing everything and I just get to pop up where I want to which takes a lot of the organising out of it.

"That's what Tom does a lot of so we sort of toyed with that a bit. It was all right."

The likes of Dylan Walker, Brendan Elliot and Garrick have been used at the back in games Trbojevic has missed in recent years, with fairly limited success, but a shift towards adapting the game plan to allow for the fact Trbojevic was absent may have also been a step up.

Trbojevic returns for this week's clash against the Titans but will be away on Blues duty in round 17 when the Sea Eagles host Canberra and in all likelihood will be rested again in round 18 rather than being asked to back up two days after Origin III.

That means at least two more games at fullback for Garrick in the coming weeks, and more chances to keep getting the adapted game plan right in Turbo's absence.

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"Our whole structure was different last year with our attacking sets, I sort of stuck on one edge and Chez was doing most of the roaming whereas I was doing the roaming (against the Cowboys) just because I didn't know the position, didn't know where I had to be for sets but I was thrown in there sort of last minute," Garrick explained.

"I had a bit more of an idea basically."

The unseen extras, like organising the defence, also took some getting used to.

"Here at Manly with Dessie, it's something you have to get right, if you don't get it right you know when you bugger it up it's going to be in the video on Monday. That's one of the hard parts," he laughed.

"We do a lot of video during the week on what teams are doing and where they're getting to and how many numbers they're going to put where. It's not something I do on the wing, it's completely foreign to me but we've been working for a few weeks here and trying to get better at that."

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"I just tried to get my numbers right in defence and tried to save some tries then in attack just no yardage errors and just be solid and pop up in the right spots.

"I was keeping it real simple and I think doing that I was really clear on what I had to do so anything else that came from it was icing on top."

The extra running wasn't a challenge so much as when and where that running was required.

"At wing you can run and I'm so used to knowing where I have to be and when I've got to be there so I don't have that frantic, 'Oh I've got to go there real quick'. Where Tom would be out there because he knows the position well," he said.

"Kilometres-wise is not the biggest problem for me, it's the showing up in the right spot at the right time and you have to be there all the time."

 

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