24th March 2020, 09:31 | englandrl
Tom Trbojevic has made 16 tackles at fullback in Manly’s opening two matches of the season and was outstanding in last weekend’s defeat of Trent Robinson’s World Club Championship winning Sydney Roosters.
The Sea Eagles star missed last year’s NRL finals series and Australia’s end-of-season international campaign against New Zealand and Tonga due to a pectoral muscle tear but if fit he will be one of the first players picked for the scheduled Kangaroo tour.
The only dilemma for Australia coach Mal Meninga is where to pick Trbojevic as he already has Roosters superstar James Tedesco in the No.1 jersey but the 23-year-old has played centre or wing in his four previous Tests for the Kangaroos.
However, Trbojevic shaded Tedesco in last weekend’s match up at Leichhardt Oval and produced two vital defensive plays that gave Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans the opportunity to kick the match-winning field goal.
Cherry-Evans may have won the game for the Sea Eagles but Trbojevic saved them from losing when he knocked the ball out of the hand of Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary as he was about to put it down for a try.
He also ran down Brett Morris in the second half and helped Jorge Taufua to stop Tedesco from scoring early in the game, while crossing for Manly’s only try in the 12th minute.
Renowned for his attacking ability, Trbojevic has been responsible for five try-saving efforts in Manly’s opening two matches against Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
Tedesco was arguably the best for the Roosters in a gripping battle between the rival fullbacks and teams, running a game-high 274 metres from 22 carries of the ball and producing eight tackle breaks.
Other contenders - for the scheduled Kangaroo tour - to impress in round two of the NRL included Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary, his Parramatta counterpart Mitchell Moses and North Queensland enforcer Josh McGuire.
Cleary steered the Panthers to a 32-28 comeback against St George Illawarra, Moses guided the Eels to a 46-6 thumping of Gold Coast Titans and McGuire was his aggressive best in the Cowboys 24-16 defeat of Canterbury Bulldogs.