Manly are adamant they’ve discovered to play with out Tom Trbojevic and are not the identical aspect who had been flogged in his absence initially of final season.
The Sea Eagles face their largest take a look at in additional than a 12 months over the following month, hopeful Trbojevic will miss simply 4 weeks after being rushed in for knee surgical procedure on Monday evening.
However regardless, gamers admitted on Tuesday they had been gutted to be with out the reigning Dally M Medallist for video games towards Newcastle, Gold Coast, Cronulla and South Sydney.
Manly have gained simply 33 per cent of video games with out Trbojevic since Des Hasler’s arrival in 2019, in comparison with 75 per cent with him.
These figures present he’s extra influential than another participant within the trendy period, with a mean rating of 28-16 with the person referred to as Tommy Turbo within the aspect in comparison with 19-26 with out him.
Nowhere was that extra evident than in Manly’s worst ever opening to a season final 12 months, going 0-4 with out him earlier than recovering to complete fourth.
However gamers stress they discovered to play with out him within the back-end of final 12 months, successful 4 of their previous 5 with Trbojevic lacking and placing 50 factors on North Queensland.
“It is a totally different fashion (we play now) … to what we’d if he was taking part in,” hooker Lachlan Croker stated.
“Whether or not Foz (Kieran Foran) and Chez (Daly Cherry-Evans) play collectively on the identical aspect a bit extra.
“And across the ruck, whoever fills in there’s going to need to do one thing much like Tom.
“There’s going to need to be instances the place forwards need to get again earlier to get us out of our personal finish.”
Manly additionally level to better expertise of their squad, with the likes of Josh Schuster, Sean Keppie, Jason Saab and Haumole Olakau’atu all early of their profession or lacking initially of 2021.
“Final 12 months we had been thrown into the deep finish with out him, we have skilled it now,” Croker stated.
“It isn’t going to be simple … Oppositions seeing he is not within the workforce will really feel somewhat bit higher.
“However we’ve lots of guys who performed lots of footy final 12 months, they’ve added one other 25 video games to the place they’re now.”
Reuben Garrick is prone to begin at fullback rather than Trbojevic, with Christian Tuipulotu an opportunity so as to add some dimension on the wing.
Manly’s pack have additionally accepted they must arise and get again earlier for yardage carries, a job usually taken by Trbojevic.
“Clearly we’re somewhat bit gutted about it,” prop Josh Aloiai stated.
“We all know how good he’s … we won’t stand up right here and say it isn’t a giant loss.
“There are 200 or 300 metres there that he will get us going ahead so others are going to need to put their hand up.”