Manly’s Tom Trbojevic added another honour to his glorious 2021 season – the Brad Fittler Medal – on a day his club celebrated one of its greatest Sea Eagles players.
The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues centre accepted his medal at a gala dinner at The Star Casino on Wednesday night – 1 December – which was the late Bob Fulton’s 75th birthday.
Fulton, one of the game’s Immortals, died in May this year. He frequently spoke of the pleasure in watching Trbojevic tear up a Rugby League field.
After being handed his medal by Fittler himself, 25-year-old Trboejvic spoke of what it meant to him in a year which saw him collect the NRL’s Dally M Medal, the RLPA’s Players’ Champion medal, and the Wally Lewis Medal for being the best player in the 2021 Ampol State of Origin series.
“It’s right up there, it’s very high,” Trboejvic said.
“Playing for NSW is such an honour and ‘Freddy’ was one of the best to ever do it. So to win an award named after him is special.
“I’ve learnt a lot off him as a person – just how calm and relaxed he is in situations. You can see why he was so successful because he knew what he had to do.
“I’ve been coached by him for the past four years so I’ve enjoyed watching and learning. Hopefully there’s many more (years) to come.”
The way Trbojevic’s 2021 season went, it seems inevitable he will enjoy Fittler’s company again. He also collected The Daily Telegraph’s People’s Choice Award at the prestigious NSWRL awards night.
“It’s obviously nice to win a lot of individual accolades – it’s not why you play the game but it’s obviously nice,” he said.
“It was good to play finals footy with Manly, although we’d like to go further next year.”
Trbojevic scored 28 tries in 18 games for the Sea Eagles in 2021, combined with 28 try assists.
“Obviously staying on the field helps… last few years I haven’t been able to do that. So that definitely helped me this year,” he said.
“I think at Manly we played some good footy with some of the younger boys coming through really excelled for us.”
Trbojevic’s form for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues wasn’t too shabby either, with four tries from three Origin games helping overcome Queensland to win back the interstate shield.
But Trbojevic had other Blues players in mind for the Brad Fittler Medal.
“I thought Latrell (Mitchell) would win it, or Teddy (James Tedesco). They were both very good this year,” he said.
Mitchell did pick up the True Blue Award, voted on by the NSW Origin coaches.
In September Trbojevic also won the Roy Bull ‘Best and Fairest’ Award for 2021 as the Manly Sea Eagles top footballer for the year. He won three Sea Eagles honours that night also claiming the NRL team’s Players’ Player and the leading NRL try scorer
It’s a bulging trophy cabinet at the Trbojevic household but ‘Turbo’ doesn’t have the final say in how they are displayed.
“The thing is, as soon as I walk out of here my mum will take them off me and hide them somewhere so I don’t know where most of them are,” he said.