Infotainment Factory: The perfect time for Manly's holy trinity

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The perfect time for Manly's holy trinity


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Never has the NRL needed clean skin ambassadors more than now.

As it emerges from an off-season from hell, dominated by headlines featuring acts of violence against women, now more than ever rugby league needs stars who enrich the community and the game rather than selfishly taking from it.

Despite the negative sentiment currently swirling around the NRL, there are a long list of players who fit within this criteria. And right at its very top are Manly's Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom.

NRL consider policy change after disaster off-season

It's why after a difficult few years for the Sea Eagles, the club is starting to position itself for a return to the glory days, built around an outstanding local family and coached again by a man teaming with Manly DNA.

Wide World of Sports' The Mole reported on Wednesday that the Trbojevic brothers were poised to re-sign with the club on long-term deals that will take them well into their prime.

With two-time premiership coach Des Hasler back at the helm there are growing signs that a rebuild capable of once again delivering silverware is gathering momentum.

Having lurched from controversy to controversy since last making the grand final under Geoff Toovey in 2013, the Sea Eagles have increasingly struggled to attract corporate support in an extremely competitive and crowded marketplace.

While the return of a club icon like Hasler should help stem the bleeding, the timely re-commitment of two future club legends will go even further to reset the narrative around a club that has lost its identity and its swagger in recent years.

One of Manly's most famous identities, 1987 premiership captain and Channel Nine commentator Paul Vautin, already sees the Trbojevic's as "two of the top five players in the game".

While that claim might be a tad premature, at 25 and 22 and already mainstays in representative sides, the lock and fullback combination are in the perfect position to arrive in that category by the time their current contract is up at the end of next season.

Alongside marquee halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and with plenty of exciting young talent coming through around them, the Trbojevic brothers are every chance of equalling the premiership achievements of Brett and Glenn Stewart, the last legendary siblings to wear maroon and white, before their careers come to an end.

"They are superstars, when their careers are done at Manly, hopefully they’re there for a long time, they’ll be in Manly’s best ever team," Vautin told Wide World of Sports.

"They’re great players and they’re only going to get better. Tom’s improving every game and Jake’s just a workhorse but he’s a really good workhorse.

"They’re great players, they’ve got a great disposition about the game, they go out and enjoy themselves, and unlike what’s happening in rugby league at the moment, they’re as clean as you can possibly get.

"They’ll be good to go and watch and I love watching them play when they play for Manly."

For Manly to succeed over the next couple of years much will depend on the continued improvements of their superstars, led by the Trbojevic brothers, Cherry-Evans and Kiwi star Marty Taupau.

However, Vautin is also relieved that a forgettable era during which the club moved away from the philosophy that had built them into one of the most successful in rugby league is over.

While many fans are baffled by the Sea Eagles' obsession with the need to be coached by one of its own, Vautin has intimate knowledge of the political vipers nest that Manly has always been and has no doubt that Hasler is in a far better position to navigate it than an 'outsider' like Trent Barrett.

Returned Manly coach Des Hasler.

"There’s a thing down at Manly where you’ve got to have played for the club to understand that and I agree with that, I totally agree with that," Vautin said.

"The coaches that we’ve had who haven’t been from there – and the players loved Trent, he was a good coach but there were circumstances that forced him to leave – haven’t done too well.

"It’s a very political club, it always has been, so you need a few allies and Des has got them.

"They gave Trent a go and that didn’t work out, so I think a Manly man back at the helm is good for the place."

Never has the NRL needed clean skin ambassadors more than now.

As it emerges from an off-season from hell, dominated by headlines featuring acts of violence against women, now more than ever rugby league needs stars who enrich the community and the game rather than selfishly taking from it.

Despite the negative sentiment currently swirling around the NRL, there are a long list of players who fit within this criteria. And right at its very top are Manly's Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom.

NRL consider policy change after disaster off-season

It's why after a difficult few years for the Sea Eagles, the club is starting to position itself for a return to the glory days, built around an outstanding local family and coached again by a man teaming with Manly DNA.

Wide World of Sports' The Mole reported on Wednesday that the Trbojevic brothers were poised to re-sign with the club on long-term deals that will take them well into their prime.

With two-time premiership coach Des Hasler back at the helm there are growing signs that a rebuild capable of once again delivering silverware is gathering momentum.

Having lurched from controversy to controversy since last making the grand final under Geoff Toovey in 2013, the Sea Eagles have increasingly struggled to attract corporate support in an extremely competitive and crowded marketplace.

While the return of a club icon like Hasler should help stem the bleeding, the timely re-commitment of two future club legends will go even further to reset the narrative around a club that has lost its identity and its swagger in recent years.

One of Manly's most famous identities, 1987 premiership captain and Channel Nine commentator Paul Vautin, already sees the Trbojevic's as "two of the top five players in the game".

While that claim might be a tad premature, at 25 and 22 and already mainstays in representative sides, the lock and fullback combination are in the perfect position to arrive in that category by the time their current contract is up at the end of next season.

Alongside marquee halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and with plenty of exciting young talent coming through around them, the Trbojevic brothers are every chance of equalling the premiership achievements of Brett and Glenn Stewart, the last legendary siblings to wear maroon and white, before their careers come to an end.

"They are superstars, when their careers are done at Manly, hopefully they’re there for a long time, they’ll be in Manly’s best ever team," Vautin told Wide World of Sports.

"They’re great players and they’re only going to get better. Tom’s improving every game and Jake’s just a workhorse but he’s a really good workhorse.

"They’re great players, they’ve got a great disposition about the game, they go out and enjoy themselves, and unlike what’s happening in rugby league at the moment, they’re as clean as you can possibly get.

"They’ll be good to go and watch and I love watching them play when they play for Manly."

For Manly to succeed over the next couple of years much will depend on the continued improvements of their superstars, led by the Trbojevic brothers, Cherry-Evans and Kiwi star Marty Taupau.

However, Vautin is also relieved that a forgettable era during which the club moved away from the philosophy that had built them into one of the most successful in rugby league is over.

While many fans are baffled by the Sea Eagles' obsession with the need to be coached by one of its own, Vautin has intimate knowledge of the political vipers nest that Manly has always been and has no doubt that Hasler is in a far better position to navigate it than an 'outsider' like Trent Barrett.

Returned Manly coach Des Hasler.

"There’s a thing down at Manly where you’ve got to have played for the club to understand that and I agree with that, I totally agree with that," Vautin said.

"The coaches that we’ve had who haven’t been from there – and the players loved Trent, he was a good coach but there were circumstances that forced him to leave – haven’t done too well.

"It’s a very political club, it always has been, so you need a few allies and Des has got them.

"They gave Trent a go and that didn’t work out, so I think a Manly man back at the helm is good for the place."

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