Tom Trbojevic sustained a suspected shoulder injury in his long-awaited NRL return, as Manly went down to Gold Coast in a crushing 42-24 defeat at Brookvale Oval.
- Tom Trbojevic was playing his first match since June after returning from a hamstring injury
- Trbojevic’s latest ailment may put him in doubt for the State of Origin series
- The Titans won their fourth straight match to be placed ninth on the ladder
Playing his first match since June after being sidelined with a troublesome hamstring injury, Trbojevic was hurt attempting to make a tackle on Titans fullback AJ Brimson.
Brimson crossed for a try, with Trbojevic left with his right arm dangling by his side before he later departed the field.
Manly officials were initially hopeful the injury was only a stinger, but it comes at the worst possible time for Trbojevic.
Including Saturday’s loss, he had just two matches to impress New South Wales coach Brad Fittler before the end-of-season State of Origin series.
Trbojevic looked particularly rusty at the back on Saturday afternoon in both attack and defence, with two of his four errors coming after the shoulder injury.
His presence in attack helped Manly score one try as he drew in two defenders off the ball, while he also helped chase down Titans flyer Treymain Spry Sprei to deny him a 90-metre intercept try.
But on other occasions his injury lay-off showed, such as his failure to shadow a grubber dead that allowed Kevin Proctor to score and his fumbling of a poor Tevita Funa pass in the lead-up to another Titans try.
Regardless, the Sea Eagles were completely outplayed by the Titans, who posted their equal-highest score in their 14-year history.
The Titans have now won four straight matches for the first time since 2014. They are ninth on the ladder after being tipped by a number of commentators to collect the wooden spoon.
Brimson scored two tries, including an 80-metre effort that left referee Matt Noyen with an injured hamstring after Young Tonumaipea found his teammate from a 20-metre tap.
Tonumaipea also claimed a brace, making the most of a 60-metre intercept from Corey Thompson for his second.
Thompson finished the match off with a hamstring injury after earlier scoring a try, while Sam Stone and Spry scored the Titans’ other tries.
The result means Manly will finish the season with just one win from seven matches at its home ground Brookvale Oval.