State of Origin: Brad Fittler fires Blues rallying call following Trbo injury blow

Michael Holland

New South Wales coach Brad Fittler says the injury to Tom Trbojevic presents an opportunity for someone to step up and make a name for themselves in State of Origin.

Trbojevic is looking at a lengthy spell on the sidelines after damaging his shoulder on Friday night. The Manly Sea Eagles star landed awkwardly on his shoulder during the 22-20 loss against Parramatta.

He left the field in agony and Manly are waiting to discover how serious it is. But even if he avoids surgery the Origin series is gone for him this year. The opening game is on 8th June and Fittler names his squad on 29th May.

Brad Fittler has a selection headache

The injury is another huge setback for Fittler. He is already without a host of key players for part of, if not all of the series. They include Latrell Mitchell, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Murray and Victor Radley.

Fittler is hoping that Mitchell can recover from a hamstring injury and play some part. The Blues coach admits losing Trbojevic is a blow. But at the same time he says the door opens for someone else to step up to the plate.

“We’ve got another week to go, but if you go over the history of State of Origin, some of the greatest wins have come under the greatest adversity,” Fittler told Channel 9 after the game.

“That’s the beauty of the game and there’s a great opportunity there for a player now. I was pretty much confident that he was going to play in the centres, so there’s an opportunity out there for someone to make a name for themselves and step up.”

Trbojevic will need scans to discover the full extent of the damage. If surgery is needed then it could be season ending. It would be a cruel blow for the player and for Manly.

Billy Slater sympathy

Queensland coach Billy Slater, who was also working with channel 9 on the game, had nothing but sympathy for the player. Saying the injury was horrible to see.

“You can rehab them sometimes and you can strengthen them up and get back and play, but the way Tom walked down the tunnel, he was dejected, he was in a lot of pain,” Slater added. “They got the shoulder back in the socket, but how much damage has been done? That’s the big question.

“We hate to see it happen to anyone, but Tom’s had his fair share of injuries and he certainly doesn’t deserve this. He’s the nicest person in the world and it’s hard to watch.”