‘Comes down to whoever Turbo passes the ball to’: Inside Manly’s and NRL’s most potent trio

Tom Trbojevic, Jason Saab and Reuben Garrick are arguably the most dangerous back three in the NRL and they have a warning for the rest of the competition that the best is yet to come.

Last year the back three finished first, second and third on the Manly try-scorers list with Trbojevic (28) just ahead of Saab (26) and Garrick (23), while the next best Manly player Daly Cherry-Evans had 9.

Garrick concedes that playing in a back three featuring the reigning Dally M player of the year makes him and Saab the envy of every winger in the competition.

“It’s awesome because they play an exciting brand of footy,” Garrick told foxsports.com.au of playing with Trbojevic and Saab.

“I think everyone loves to see it and we love playing it. It makes it fun.

“Me and Saab have a good partnership there and each week we just go out and try to have as much fun as we can.

“If that comes down to some weeks rucking the ball up and other weeks scoring a few tries, we are happy to do that for the team.

“But it all comes off the back of Turbo. He is a great facilitator and someone I’m very lucky to play with and I think Jason has the same thoughts around that as well.

“We are looking this year to go one better and we have another year under our belt all together so hopefully we can take the next step forward and become the best back three in the competition.”

Given their proximity on the try-scorers list, it begs the question do the wingers and fullback have a try scoring competition each season?

“I’ve been asked about a try-scoring battle between me and Saab a few times and it sort of comes down to whoever Turbo passes the ball to,” Garrick said with a laugh.

“It is competitive between us definitely but that always brings the best out of both of us and we are both very competitive people so hopefully us back three can have a try scoring competition this year.

“I hope I come out on top, but it comes down to Turbo I think.”

Saab echoed Garrick’s sentiments on Trbojevic and also paid tribute to Garrick for doing the tough carries to allow him to conserve his energy for some long runs throughout last season.

“It is awesome playing with those two,” Saab said of Trbojevic and Garrick.

“They have really helped me unlock my speed. Turbo and Garrick have helped me and so has Chez (Cherry-Evans). It is kind of like a domino effect.

“They have really helped me with being able to showcase what I can do and open up opportunities for me on the field.

“Gaz (Garrick) being my other winger really helps because he is really good in the back-field so he does a lot more than I do there, so I am a bit fresher on the wing when the ball comes out my way.

“It is just awesome to play with those two because they both bring a lot to the team and help me out as well.”

He might be the star of the Manly side and of the NRL for that matter, but Trbojevic is also one of the game’s most humble players and he knows he couldn’t have done what he did last year without his two flyers up the back.

“It is pretty special to have wingers like them,” Trbojevic said.

“They score tries and are very quick and hopefully they go to another level this year again.

“They were exceptional last year. Everyone works on their own game and how they can improve and they are certainly no different. 

“I just hope we play well as a team and give them opportunities to be able to score the tries they did because they are so good at finishing them.”


As for Trbojevic topping last season will be tough individually, given the heights he reached as the competition’s best player, but the Manly No.1 prefers to focus on the team goals ahead of his own individual performances.

“It is more about the team and getting better as a team,” Trbojevic said.

“And keep doing my role within it.

“It is a new season so we start again and I don’t need to be better than last year, I just need to do my role in the team to win footy games.

“It is not about comparing year on year, it is about being my best for the team.”

The Sea Eagles made the top four last season after starting the year 0-4, but ultimately were beaten by two top four sides in Melbourne and the Rabbitohs to bow out at the preliminary final stage.


Garrick revealed the side are focused on playing a new brand of rugby league in 2022 that will challenge the top sides more consistently.


“I think it comes down to our mentality,” Garrick said.

“We have been working hard on that this pre-season. I think we have to perform better against the top sides and not just be flat track bullies.

“We are working really hard on our resilience there and playing a game style that can go well against top four sides.”

The ace up the Manly players’ sleeves is undoubtedly coach Des Hasler, according to Garrick as he is always looking for even the smallest improvements in his squad to give his team an edge.

Garrick finished last season as the top point scorer in the NRL with 334 as he blossomed into one of the game’s elite goal kickers and try-scorers.

“I think it is definitely the coaching staff that is here is just awesome,” Garrick said of the reasons for his own success.

“Des (Hasler) and Chad Randall and Michael Monaghan really put in extraordinary amounts of time into what they do. It is ridiculous.

“Especially Des. He does weeks and weeks of video for a game in a month. He has everything planned and sorted and everything is based on the numbers so you can really have confidence and trust in what he sees.

“It all comes down to an algorithm or formula that he has come up with. That’s definitely one thing.

“The other thing is all the boys here. I have some great mates here and it is a bit like playing local footy with our mateship in the side at the moment. I think that definitely helps you play good footy.

“He is always coming up with different things and outlets to better the playing group. The pre-season has been very tough.”


Garrick also believes Manly’s back three could have been even more dangerous on the back of their intense pre-season if the NRL didn’t alter the rules again.


“Towards the pre-season they have thrown out the rule changes so I think that would have changed the way we have trained a little bit,” Garrick said.

“With that rule change (six again) you don’t have to be as fit I’m thinking, which is a bit of a shame, but it is what it is.

“I would like to se However the biggest plus for the 2022 Manly squad is that it doesn’t look much different to last year’s, which Garrick and Trbojevic believe will give them a headstart in the race to the top four.

“I think it is good definitely that we have kept the same squad,” Garrick said.

“It gives us something to build off, especially because we were going reasonably well last year and we can build off that.

“I think the younger guys have a tougher mental state from last year and a bit more experience so that’s only going to help us.”

“I think so, especially in the early stages of the competition,” Trbojevic agreed.

“It certainly won’t hurt so hopefully we can get off to a fast start because we didn’t last year.”

e the rule changes stop. They went one way last year in making it more free flowing and then this year’s rule change prevents that and takes a bit more fatigue out of the game.

“Look the NRL make the rules and you have got to play by them so it is just how it is. I think we will fare pretty well either way.”

Source: foxsports.com.au