BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Tom Trbojevic of the Blues makes a break during game two of the 2021 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Tom Trbojevic may take no further part in the 2023 NRL season after suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle during Wednesday night's State of Origin game.

In news that will hit the Manly Sea Eagles for six, Trbojevic will nervously await scans to confirm the extent of the damage, but his season is likely over.

His injury undoubtedly impacted the New South Wales Blues throughout what ultimately turned into a heavy 32 points to 6 loss at the hands of the Queensland Maroons on Wednesday evening, with Fittler employing South Sydney Rabbitohs dummy-half Damien Cook at centre and leaving debutant Reece Robson at dummy half for 80 minutes.

Fittler was slammed on social media throughout the game by fans for the unwillingness to play Cameron Murray or one of the back-row options in the centres, with Cook at times struggling in both attack and defence in the centres.

Despite that, Fittler said there had always been the prospect of Cook spending time in the centres if need be, while admitting the injury to Trbojevic hurt the Blues.

"Well, he is a good player. He is someone we'd look to get us points," Fittler said.

"I spoke to Cookie [Damien Cook] about it [during the week], that he would have to play centre if someone went down. I thought he did a great job Cookie, but we had to change a bit of what we were trying to do out there, but at the end of the day, their defence was very good.

"It would have been a bit more interesting if he [Trbojevic] was out there, obviously he is a strike player and a good player, but I have to hand it to their defence. Very rarely did it look like we were going to break them or score tries.

"It had a huge impact, but that is what it is. It changes the way your interchange works and what we were trying to do, but he has a torn pec in there so there is a good chance he won't play many more games this year. We still had our chances."

Fittler said he thought Cook did a good job, but was unwilling to be drawn into criticism about his interchanges.

"I'm not going to talk about interchanges. I'm not going to talk about who we chose," Fittler said when asked about his selections.

"At the end of the day, Cookie did a pretty good job at centre. He beat Val Holmes a couple of times, once he got beat on the inside, but you can't cover every position. It's impossible. You don't have those players to cover every position."

It's the latest in a long line of injuries for Trbojevic, who missed last year's Origin series and the Rugby League World Cup, as well as the second half of the NRL season with injury.

A torn pectoral muscle could leave the star Manly fullback on the sidelines for three months - the best part of the remainder of the season.

Fittler confirmed Trbojevic was feeling "pretty ordinary" while Queensland captain and club teammate Daly Cherry-Evans was hopeful the damage wasn't as bad as feared.

"As soon as it happened, it's hard not to feel hurt for him I guess. Initial thoughts are I was hoping it wasn't too bad, but it's hard not to feel for Tommy with where he is at. He has to get some scans and we will go from there, but my heart goes out to him," Cherry-Evans said.

Reuben Garrick is the most likely player to fill in for Trbojevic at the club level in the coming weeks as the Sea Eagles attempt to push for a spot in the finals.

1 COMMENT

  1. “you can’t cover every position. It’s impossible. You don’t have those players to cover every position.”

    Yes and No. As long as there one person left on the bench, you can always send someone on to cover any injury. That substitute will not be as good, but he’s going to better than no-one.

    The issue that everyone has is that Brad Fittler appears to have made little or no research into what players can cover each position. If he had done that, he would have known that Cam Murray has experience playing in the centres, whilst Damien Cook has only ever been a hooker.

    So yes, you can’t replace an injured TomT with another player as good; but no, you can replace him with a much better fill-in than the one you sent on to the field.

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