Manly’s exit from the finals race last week has ended Tom Trbojevic’s dream of returning to play this season and make a late bid for Australia’s World Cup team.
The star fullback suffered what was thought to be a season-ending shoulder injury in round 11, but two weeks ago declared his rehab was going well and he was eyeing a shock return before year’s end.
But Manly will now tell Turbo to just concentrate on getting himself right for 2023.
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The brilliant fullback may still have been a chance at selection for the World Cup in England in October and November, but Manly don’t want him to risk injuring himself again.
One of the game’s genuine match-winners, Trbojevic was superb last season, winning the Dally M Medal, and started this year strongly before his shoulder was dislocated in an awkward tackle.
Jake and Tom Trbojevic (AAP)PANTHER LOOKING FOR OUTSIDE OPPORTUNITY
The most talked about player in rugby league this week – young Panthers utility Jaeman Salmon – is in danger of being lost to the club at the end of the season.
But his likely exit has nothing to do with Ricky Stuart’s epic spray in the press conference after Penrith’s win over Canberra.
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It all comes down to opportunity – like Sean O’Sullivan, Salmon has had a frustrating time playing behind the Panthers’ gun halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.
O’Sullivan saw the writing on the wall and signed with the Dolphins for next year, while Salmon is a free agent and has been in talks with at least one rival Sydney-based club.
Jaeman Salmon of the Panthers scores a try against the Raiders. (Getty)TIGERS PLAY HARDBALL OVER STAR
Tigers fans are probably feeling nervous after star signing Isaiah Papali’i appeared to consider back-tracking on his deal to join the club in media interviews on Monday.
“I’ve got a season to finish off and then I can worry about all that after,” he said.
“When it does come time to have that talk (with the Tigers), we’ll definitely have that talk behind the scenes.”
But the Tigers are prepared to play hardball to ensure Papali’i honours the deal he signed, which has been registered with the NRL.
The club has let three backrowers go for next season to be able to afford Papali’i and if he doesn’t come, their pack will be a shambles.
For that reason alone, the Tigers won’t even consider releasing the powerhouse forward.
Star considers backflip on TigersFLYER LINKED TO KNIGHTS MOVE
There’s been plenty of talk linking former Eels tryscoring sensation Bevan French to Newcastle next season, but Wigan won’t let the speedy utility go without a fight.
French wants to return to Australia after four years in England where he has proved himself a fan favourite.
Last month, he set a new Super League record by scoring seven tries during a 60-0 win over Hull FC.
Wigan will throw more money at French than the Knights are prepared to pay, leaving him with the old dilemma – money or happiness.
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