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Learning on the job: Holbrook happy with Toby's progress

As far as litmus tests go for young playmakers, they don’t come much bigger than confronting Sea Eagles supremo Daly Cherry-Evans on his own patch at Brookvale.

That’s the challenge awaiting Titans No.7 Toby Sexton on Saturday as he looks to continue his own personal development and help his team to their third win of the season.

Sexton’s form in 2022 has mirrored the Titans’ LWLWL rollercoaster ride in the first five rounds, but coach Justin Holbrook is adamant his halfback on the right track.

“Toby has started really well and he’s controlling the games well for us,” Holbrook said.

“When you are inexperienced you are doing everything for the first time and you don’t change that until you get experience. So that’s happening every week for him so I’m expecting him to keep getting better and by the back third of the year we’ll have some really good combinations.

“AJ [Brimson] has strung a few games together now which is good but we’ve still got Jamayne [Isaako] at fullback so it’s not been the easiest to direct the team around when you have positional changes in those key roles.

Sea Eagles v Titans

“For us to be in the mix every game is a good indication of a halfback doing a good job. Toby’s been a little bit conservative the last week or two but all in all he’s handling it really well.”

The 21-year-old Titan chalks up career game No.10 this weekend while Cherry-Evans lines up for his 267th game for Manly, the fourth highest in club history behind Cliff Lyons (309), Steve Menzies (280) and Anthony Watmough (278).

“DCE has dictated games himself for a number of years now and with Tom Trbojevic out he is the most important player in their team,” Holbrook said.

“You can’t just shut guys like that down because they pop up everywhere. He’s got so much creativity in his game, whether he kicks on the third tackle or runs on the last, so collectively we have to do a really good job on him.

“We have to take our chances and win a few of those moments we didn’t win in the first half [last week] and it could’ve gone a different way. We’ve got to get better at that.

“We started OK last week but we couldn’t be the first to score and then we didn’t get on top, we chased them hard, but we have to put the 80 minutes together and give ourselves a good chance of winning against a strong opposition.”

In a boost for the Titans, fullback Jayden Campbell is set to return from a rib injury in round seven, meaning Holbrook will have his first-choice spine on the paddock for just the third time this season.

Welcome to the NRL, Toby Sexton!

“Jayden should be right next week. He’s running freely now without a lot of pain,” Holbrook said.

“If it was the back end of the year we’d be pushing him through but we learned from experience with David Fifita, that was the injury he played with at the back end of last year, and you can’t play with that all year.

“Because it’s early in the year with Jayden we’ve got the luxury of letting it settle and getting it right so he’s not hampered the whole year, that’s why we’ve been cautious.”

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