Turbo-charged Trbojevic blows away the cobwebs and the Bulldogs


The brilliant performance ensured the Bulldogs were never in the hunt.

Dean Pay’s men weren’t as bad as the Dragons on Saturday afternoon but they did a fair job at mimicking their lack of spark in attack.

They had just 12 total tackle breaks and no line breaks, according to Champion Data. Manly, in contrast, had 33 and 8, respectively.

Those numbers just about summed up everything you need to know about this one-sided contest. The less said about the match itself, the better.

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The opposite has to be said for Trbojevic’s performance. There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe his night.

It took just four minutes for Manly – through their superstar fullback – to stamp their authority. Joel Thompson was the catalyst. He delivered a delightful offload to Daly Cherry-Evans when he was millimetres off the turf and the Sea Eagles were off to the races.

Cherry-Evans shifted the ball to centre Moses Suli, who palmed Nick Meaney and found the lurking Trbojevic to his left for the first try of the night.

Trbojevic’s second try made up for the woeful 20 minutes – which included nine handling errors between the two teams – that preceded it.

This time it was his brother Jake who provided the spark.

The star NSW Origin lock provided a deftly disguised pass off his left hip to his brother, who pierced the hole in the Bulldogs’ defensive line and dived over to give the home side an 8-0 lead.

With a double under his belt, Trbojevic turned his attention to creating points for his teammates.

With four minutes to play in the first half he held up a pass just long enough to create confusion among the Bulldogs’ right edge. That confusion turned into a hole for Brad Parker, which turned into six more points for Manly.

Des Hasler’s side had a 14-0 lead to play with as they jogged into the empty bowels of Central Coast Stadium at the end of 40 minutes.

When they re-emerged, Trbojevic made it his mission to match his two tries with a pair of try assists.

He did exactly that four minutes into the second half when he found Jorge Taufua with a perfect cut-out across the face of the Bulldogs’ line.

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After levelling the ledger at two tries and two try assists, Trbojevic decided he wanted five total score involvements to finish the night.

After Cherry-Evans put him away down that same left edge with 17 minutes to play in the second half, Trbojevic once again found Parker to put the centre over.

Dominant hardly describes the impact he had on the match.

The Sea Eagles are now 2-1 and will face the undefeated Eels at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday afternoon. If that isn’t the match of the round, it’s certainly in the conversation.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 0-3 Bulldogs will face the 0-3 Dragons on Monday in what is already shaping as a pivotal match in the race for the wooden spoon.

MANLY 32 (B Parker 2 T Trbojevic 2 R Garrick C Sironen J Taufua tries R Garrick 2 goals) bt CANTERBURY 6 (J Averillo try N Meaney goal) at Central Coast Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin.

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