Manly face early test of depth without Trbojevic and Fonua-Blake


Rising forwards Sean Keppie and Haumole Olakau’atu are expected to get their shot in the middle this weekend when the Sea Eagles play Cronulla in a trial at Kogarah.

Keppie and Olakau’atu made their  NRL debuts in time for finals  as the Sea Eagles struggled with injury towards the end of 2019.

Addin Fonua-Blake led from the front for Manly last season.Credit:AAP

Trbojevic and Fonua-Blake needed surgery at the end of last season but put it off to be able to play for Australia and Tonga respectively.

Fonua-Blake will meet with the surgeon next week and hopes to get the all-clear to return in round two or three, while Trbojevic could be missing until round four.

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“I feel fitter this year than I have been previous years. Knowing that I haven’t been running I had to change up a lot of things, I couldn’t eat the way I usually eat,” Fonua-Blake said.

“My weight is good now. As soon as I came back, I hit the ground running.

“Now I’m back in the field doing training with the boys, so hopefully the surgeon has good news for me.”

Trbojevic is also back training with the main group but has not progressed to full contact yet and is still building strength.

Meanwhile, Hasler underwent hip surgery over the pre-season but kept in regular contact with support staff, doing video sessions from his hospital bed while he recovered.

Trbojevic said the few weeks without Hasler at training was more relaxed  but said the coach had left no stone unturned to prepare the team for another huge season.

“He has everything recorded, so he doesn’t miss anything,” he laughed.

AAP

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