Trbojevic worn down by questions over fitness

·2-min read
Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

Tom Trbojevic has admitted questions over his early-season fitness have worn him down but remains adamant he can operate at full capacity for NSW in State of Origin.

Trbojevic bounced back to life in Manly's 42-14 win over Canberra on Sunday, bagging his first hat-trick since late 2021 to wrap up the right centre spot for the Blues.

NSW officials were always going to struggle to drop Trbojevic, but privately there had been concerns over whether he was playing within himself.

However, from the moment he charged through Jordan Rapana and Sebastian Kris to score his first try on Sunday, there were no questions over his selection.

Trbojevic is adamant there was never any internal doubt around his fitness and the difference in Sunday's game was that Manly merely had more good ball.

"I didn't really doubt myself, but it does wear down on you a little bit, all the external commentary," Trbojevic said.

"You can't really escape it these days, it's just part of it. Something I just had to come to accept. It wasn't personal doubt.

"It wasn't hurting me. It was more - you get comments about how your body is feeling and people saying, 'He's not right', when you know you feel good within yourself.

"That stuff can be a little bit frustrating, but I understand I wasn't playing well enough, so I guess it comes off the back of it.

"I'm not going to sugar-coat it and be like, 'Everyone should praise me when I'm not playing well', but it is what it is."

Questions over Trbojevic's form had coincided with claims the fullback was only running at 80 per cent after suffering a fifth hamstring injury in five years over the summer.

But Trbojevic has rejected any suggestion he had held himself back, and insists he'll be running at 100 per cent in Origin I next Wednesday.

"It's funny people can look at me and work out what per cent I'm running at, but I definitely feel really good," he said.

"That's just all external noise. I've just been really focused on training really hard and doing what I need to do to get myself right to put in the best performance I can.

"I know sometimes it doesn't go well for you. That's just rugby league, but that's what I've been focused on."

Blues coach Brad Fittler said Trbojevic was always pencilled into his team, after winning the Wally Lewis Medal when last fit to play for NSW in 2021.

"He's always considered if he's available," coach Brad Fittler said.

"You talk about a gamble, you just have to gamble that he's going to be ready. Very rarely has he ever let us down. We had his name written with a heavy lead pencil."