Misfiring Turbo is NOT the problem with our attack, says Manly coach Des Hasler – as he shoots down injury worries after Roosters and Penrith showed rest of NRL how to nullify Dally M winner
- The Manly Sea Eagles have been belted in the first two rounds of the NRL
- Star player Tom Trbojevic has been well down on form in those games
- Questions raised about his fitness and whether opponents have him worked out
- Manly coach Des Hasler said the whole team was to blame, not just Turbo
The Manly Sea Eagles have suffered a horror start to the 2022 season but coach Des Hasler is refusing to blame his star fullback Tom Trbojevic for their woes.
His side was thumped 28-6 by defending premiers Penrith in round one and 26-12 by the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, plunging the Sea Eagles into an early hole.
Manly lost their first four games in 2021 before surging to a preliminary final, but ‘Tommy Turbo’ was out injured during the first month of that season.
This time around their star fullback is on deck but has been nullified by both the Panthers and Roosters. Stats prove that his form is well down from last year.
Turbo set the NRL on fire in 2021 with arguably one of the best seasons by an individual in history, but he has been unable to replicate that form in 2022.
Turbo had arguably the best season ever seen by an individual player in 2021, finishing with 28 tries, 28 try assists, 124 tackle breaks, and 33 line breaks in 18 games. It culminated in him winning the Dally M Medal and being named fullback of the year.
The 28 tries he scored included five hat-tricks and he set a new club record for most tries in one season for Manly.
He averaged 209 metres per game in 2021, had an 82.83 per cent tackle efficiency rate, averaged 6.9 tackle breaks per game, 1.8 line breaks and 1.6 try assists.
But in two games in 2022, Turbo is averaging 152 running metres, has a 61.54 per cent tackle efficiency rate, two tackle breaks per game, 0.5 line breaks and 0.5 try assists.
It has raised questions about whether he is 100 per cent fit.
‘You just see Tom on that previous set grimacing as he plays the footy. I’m not sure [if he is 100 per cent],’ Fox Sports commentator Michael Ennis said.
‘Something is not right, he was slow to get up,’ fellow commentator Dan Ginnane added.
Hasler has put the blowtorch on his entire side for a lacklustre start to the 2022 NRL season and doesn’t believe that Turbo is the problem.
But Hasler said there were no issues with Turbo and the problem was with the entire team, not just one player.
‘He is 100 per cent and I said last week and it is not just Tom, it is our whole attack,’ Hasler said.
‘It is clunky and it suffers on the back of constantly having to defend repeat sets tonight.
‘They built really good pressure, the Roosters, and that fatigues you when you are coming out of your own end all the time.
‘We have got to counteract the plans against Trbojevic by finding and creating better field position.’
Trbojevic struggled for momentum in the season opener against the Penrith Panthers before also being nullified by the Sydney Roosters in round two.
Fox Sports commentator Braith Anasta said in the wake of the round one loss to the Panthers that Manly and Turbo could expect more pain in 2022.
‘He’s a genius but he’s going to be tested this year more than he’s ever tested before,’ he said.
Paul Kent believes Trbojevic must be limited to less than 150 metres of running a game in order to keep him quiet.
‘We had a look at the stats today in the last two years and when Tom’s ran for less than 150 metres, Manly have lost so essentially there’s your answer,’ he said.