Des Hasler has insisted Tom Trbjoevic didn’t aggravate his knee injury, despite the fullback looking visibly uncomfortable in Manly’s 38-0 loss to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in Magic Round.
The reigning Dally M Medallist played with a heavily strapped knee on Friday night and appeared to be wincing in pain on more than one occasion.
Hasler, however, remained adamant Trbojevic had not suffered a fresh injury blow after undergoing surgery early last month to repair a MCL tear.
‘He [Tom Trbojevic] is getting back and he’s obviously still not quite there,’ he told reporters after the game.
‘He won’t use that as an excuse, we were just off tonight.
‘He hasn’t [aggravated his injury] at all. I can categorically say he is OK.’
According to Des Hasler, Trbojevic didn’t aggravate his knee injury ‘at all’ – but NRL legends Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer believe it’s blindingly obvious he isn’t close to fit
Hasler told reporters his champion fullback is just working his way back from knee surgery and ‘isn’t quite there’ – but vision from the game told a different story
Trbojevic agreed with his coach’s stance after the game.
‘It’s not too bad, I got a couple of knocks elsewhere, we’ll sort it out and be good to go next week,’ he said.
NRL legends turned Nine commentators Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer took a very different view after Trbojevic said he would be fit for the first State of Origin game on June 8.
‘He’s not fit. It’s sad to see a champion like that on one leg,’ Johns told viewers after the match.
‘He can’t break tackles. And it’s easy for us to shit here and say ‘he shouldn’t be playing’ – sometimes the decision has to be taken out of his hands.
‘The medical staff have to be strong and say, ‘No, Turbo, you’re not playing.”
Andrew Johns said it was ‘sad’ to watch ‘Turbo’ struggle with the injury and estimated he is only 50 per cent fit
Broncos and Maroons legend Darren Lockyer reckons NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler would be worried about whether Trbojevic will be fit for the first Origin game on June 8
Johns added that he believes Trbojevic is only 50 per cent fit and it was ‘hard to watch’ him play.
Lockyer believes NSW coach Brad Fittler would be worried by what he saw on Friday night.
‘At the moment he’s probably at 80 per cent,’ he said.
‘It would be a big call not to pick Turbo but I just don’t think he’s where he needs to be to be playing Origin right now.’
Manly fans were stunned that Hasler didn’t take Trbojevic off the field when it became clear the game was lost.
The fullback played the full 80 minutes despite the match being well out of reach shortly after halftime.
‘The game is over. Please just get Tommy off before he ends up being out for the season,’ tweeted roosterman1997.
‘I can’t believe Turbo isn’t off. The game is over. His injury is more important than this,’ wrote _itsashleeee_.