NRL Rd 27 - Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: (L-R) Tom Trbojevic, Jake Trbojevic and Ben Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles pose following the round 27 NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers at 4 Pines Park on September 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Ben Trbojevic is set to take the next big step in his rise to becoming an NRL star by being named in the Manly Sea Eagles' team for Round 1.

The youngest Trbojevic, who has widely been rated as better than both of his brothers at various stages of his development at the same age, has battled injuries to find a permanent role in Manly's best 17 during the last two seasons.

But it appears a full pre-season without incident has left him in line to gain a starting spot for the opening round of the new campaign, when Manly travel to Las Vegas to play the South Sydney Rabbitohs as part of the historic double-header that also features the Sydney Roosters up against the Brisbane Broncos.

News Corp are reporting his pre-season, combined with a three-try performance in an unofficial trial against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the Central Coast this past weekend, will be enough to win him the starting spot ahead of Josh Schuster in Round 1.

Schuster was due to move back to the second-row this season, and despite claims from the club that he has had an excellent pre-season, a bout of chicken pox followed by a finger injury has left him on the outside looking in.

It comes after he has battled with injuries over the past two years, with his 2022 season on the edge, and 2023 season at five-eighth, being severely limited.

Schuster has been moved out of the halves following Luke Brooks' arrival from the Wests Tigers, with the five-eighth also playing a strong role in the trial against the Rabbitohs.

It's understood Schuster will play a limited role in this weekend's first pre-season challenge match against the Sydney Roosters, and will be on the plane to the USA, but will not start.

The youngest Trbojevic brother can also play in the centres, and has spent time in both roles during his short NRL career to date. A former junior State of Origin player, it has been unclear which role he would develop predominantly into at NRL level, but it would appear an answer can now be provided.

Manly's clash with the Rabbitohs in Las Vegas will be played on March 3 (AEDT) at 1:30pm.