Trbojevic intent buoys Seibold as Manly lose to Sharks
Manly coach Anthony Seibold insists he is pleased with Tom Trbojevic's intent despite the fullback again struggling to shine in a 20-14 defeat against Cronulla.
The Sea Eagles are winless in their past three NRL games after their loss at Brookvale Oval on Sunday, and will face high-flying Canberra in the final audition before State of Origin selection.
NSW coach Brad Fittler said on radio earlier this week he was heartened by Trbojevic's form ahead of the announcement of his squad for the May 31 series opener.
The fullback completed a good amount of work but struggled to show signs of his explosive best until Manly fought back from 20-2 down to draw within a converted score of the lead.
Trbojevic's game has lacked its usual cutting edge since he headed to the USA for specialised rehabilitation on his hamstrings, but Seibold said his desire to be involved was a sign he was on the right track.
"The thing I really liked about Tom's game, although he didn't get into the clear as such: the intent he carried the footy with," Seibold said.
"He was carrying on tackle three and five lots of times and really charging into the opposition.
"There was plenty of intent and that's a good thing. When Tom's got that intent we know he's not far away from playing his best footy."
Manly were caught in the blocks by the Sharks and only a penalty goal from Reuben Garrick ensured they didn't go into the halftime break scoreless.
Tries to Royce Hunt and Sione Katoa along with a Nicho Hynes penalty helped Cronulla race out to a 14-2 halftime lead.
Hynes was critical to limiting Trbojevic's involvement as Cronulla moved into the top four with an important comeback win following last week's Magic Round humbling from the Dolphins.
"We earned the right to get that ball by the way we defended," said Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon.
"There was a lot of ball in play and we both turned up to play but in the second half ... we had no ball at all.
"It makes it hard when you are on the end of that, so it's more discipline than anything else."
Taniela Paseka and captain Daly Cherry-Evans carried Manly out of trouble in the second half and off the back of their respective power and panache, Garrick went over after the hour mark.
Lachlan Croker barged over to cut the deficit to six, but Manly couldn't engineer a late try to square the game up and send it to golden point.
Manly hoped Seibold will have Jake Trbojevic and Josh Schuster back to play the in-form Raiders, but prop Josh Aloiai (dislocated shoulder) and Kelma Tuilagi (fractured cheek) won't make the trip.
"We'll find the form that we had in the early part of the season because we're playing some decent football," Seibold said.
"We're in a little bit of a challenging period - success is never a straight line.
"We're in that tricky period and we have come out the other side."