Tom Trbojevic showed why he could one day finish as Manly’s finest ever fullback as he put on a clinic to help the Sea Eagles to a 32-6 flogging of Canterbury.
Trbojevic scored a double and set up another three tries in Manly’s big win, as he seemingly emerged from the lockdown a better player than he went in.
The Manly No.1 looked a step above on the Central Coast, as the Sea Eagles controlled the match from the outset and never looked in any real danger.
It condemned the listless Bulldogs to their worst start to a season since 1996 at 0-3, as they simply had no answer to the Trbojevic show.
The Sea Eagles No.1’s predecessor Brett Stewart was widely regarded as Manly’s greatest ever fullback when he retired in 2016 alongside Graham Eadie.
But there is every chance 23-year-old Trbojevic could finish better than both of them if he keeps on his current trajectory.
He opened the scoring in the fourth minute when some nice hands from Curtis Sironen put Moses Suli free, before he found Trbojevic back inside him.
His next try came courtesy of his brother Jake, who put on a perfectly timed short ball with Trbojevic trailing behind him just before the line to make it 8-0.
The Manly ace then backed it up again before and after the break to put Brad Parker over twice and Jorge Taufua once.
Parker’s first try came when Trbojevic held the ball up before the line and went short to him, while his next came off the back of a long break downfield.
Taufua, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of a long cut-out ball from Trbojevic on the left edge.
Dylan Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans also both impressed in the halves for Manly, while Sironen was also rewarded for a good night with a try on the right edge.
Meanwhile, Canterbury only had themselves to blame as they broke Manly’s line just once and were lucky not to lose by more as Reuben Garrick kicked just two from seven.
Four times they had errors while attacking Manly’s line in the opening 20 minutes, before Jake Averillo got their only try late when he ran onto a Lachlan Lewis grubber.
Meanwhile, Manly hooker Danny Levi became the first man to be sin-binned and penalised under the NRL’s new ruck rules, for holding down in the final minute as the Sea Eagles defended their own line.