‘I don’t really need this’: How social media ban helped Trbojevic get back to his best

Tom Trbojevic has quit social media since his infamous foot race down the Manly corso against “Harry”, admitting the late-night incident was a “wake-up call”.

“I know it wasn’t a good look for me; it’s all about being professional,” Trbojevic told The Sun-Herald.

Tom Trbojevic is in red-hot form since his recovery from a hamstring injury.Credit:Getty

Everyone knew it wasn’t a good look. His boss included.

Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn was understandably disappointed when he saw the footage, but has been impressed with how his superstar No.1 has bounced back.

“It’s payback time. That’s his attitude, and we’re happy with that,” Penn said of Trbojevic. “He’s a phenomenal talent, both on and off the field, there’s no question about that.

“[The Harry footage] is not what you want to see in terms of your highly-paid professional athletes. But Tom is young. We all do [silly things]. I think he’s learnt from it.

“As a club we were disappointed to lose him. What these guys do in their spare time is up to them, but he’s a role model in the community, a lot of people look up to him, and he’s got 29 teammates in the squad who rely on him.

“As professional athletes, everyone at the club has a duty of responsibility.

“There were no sanctions. We just wanted him to get better as quickly as possible.”

Trbojevic has been outstanding for Manly in his five games back from the hamstring injury he actually suffered in a bathroom accident. He has scored seven tries, had 10 try assists, made 24 tackle breaks and had 10 line breaks in that period, clocking up startling numbers at times.

Sea Eagles fans who make their way to a packed Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon for the Parramatta blockbuster will know Manly are a big chance to upset their second placed arch-enemies if their No.1 stays on the park.

No other player in the NRL has such an influence on a team’s performance.

However, Trbojevic hasn’t read any of the glowing praise online because of his social media ban.

“I was getting sprayed a bit about the Harry stuff, so I thought to myself, ‘I don’t really need this’, and I’ve been fine without it,” he said. “I’m actually glad I’m off it.

“You can spend a lot of time on there. I’d read a lot of comments and get caught up with it. I still look at the paper now and then. And my little brother [Luke] will still upload a few social posts.

“I’m just focused on footy. I don’t look at my numbers closely.

“[Coach] Dessie [Hasler] wants me to keep working on my defence and, in attack, I’ve made a few errors and I’m trying to cut them out. It’s about taking the right options.”

Trbojevic’s older brother Jake grew up playing with Parramatta No.1 Clint Gutherson, who still resides in Sea Eagles heartland. The 24-year-old Trbojevic admires Gutherson’s competitive nature and ball-playing ability.

Parramatta also admire Trbojevic, including coach Brad Arthur, who spent a year at the Sea Eagles in 2013 as Geoff Toovey’s assistant.

While Arthur was aware of a young Tom being in the system, he said his brother Jake was the one generating the most excitement at the time.

“Jake spent a fair bit of time at training and, while the club had big raps on Tom, it was more about Jake back then,” Arthur said.

“I remember Jake would come in and do the wrestle with guys like Brent Kite, ‘Choc’ [Anthony Watmough] and Glenn Stewart, and he more than held his own.

“I went to a few SG Ball sessions and Tom was there with Liam Knight.

“Both Jake and Tom were lovely boys. They were great. Tom is a quality player and a massive threat on Sunday. We’re aware of that. We know we won’t stop him, but we’ll be trying to minimise the influence he has on a game.”

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