Joey tips 'vulnerable' champion will be exposed

1 month ago 10
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The last time Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic played he was completely shut down by the Storm. But that is unlikely to happen again when the full strength Sea Eagles line up against the Roosters on Friday night in their do-or-die finals clash, according to Andrew Johns.

The NSW Blues fullback should be licking his lips at the potential of a much-improved performance against the Tricolours in Mackay, with Johns explaining how the Roosters' weaknesses can be exploited.

Last week Craig Bellamy brought to a grinding halt Trbojevic's freight train momentum off the back of consecutive hat-tricks. In Manly's 40-12 defeat to Melbourne, Trbojevic not only didn't score a try, but he also didn't make a single line-break or try assist, and produced two errors.

How Melbourne planned for Tom Trbojevic

It's a different story against the Roosters though, with injuries and suspensions - most recently with Sam Verrills unable to overturn his careless high tackle charge - causing another shake-up to the squad which is already "vulnerable". And that should work perfectly in Trbojevic's favour, says Johns.

"With Turbo loving that left side, that's their go-to with [Kieran] Foran, [Josh] Schuster and Turbo working together," Johns began in Wide World of Sports' Freddy and The Eighth.

Sydney Roosters' Josh Morris (Getty)

"I thought on that side of the field [last week against the Titans] that Sydney's Josh Morris looked a little bit vulnerable.

"That's where that [Titans line] break was made late in the last play of the game really. So I think there's a real target on that side for Manly to attack.

"I think they're in for a big night - just that passage between Sam Walker and Josh Morris, I think there'll be a lot of traffic."

Morris reveals early retirement scare

Morris could be playing his last NRL game against the Sea Eagles if the Roosters lose, after the 35-year-old announced his retirement at the end of this season.

The veteran centre suffered a hamstring injury last month which threatened to end his year then and there, however he's been able to regain fitness to join the team for their finals campaign.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson confirmed on Thursday that Ben Marschke is the next man up after Verrills' suspension.

"They're a bit like wicket-keepers in cricket - they set the tone for how everybody else around them is. It's a really important role and Benny has got a really great hooker temperament," Robinson said of Verrills' replacement.

Robinson didn't reveal his plans to stop Trbojevic like Bellamy did and in fact slammed any suggestion of honing in on the star fullback, calling it "lazy coaching".

"That's lazy coaching if you don't prepare well for players and also opposition. We understand where their strengths are but you don't want to narrow your focus too much on one guy and not the rest," he said.

Meanwhile Manly coach Des Hasler said his side is fully aware that their efforts against the Storm last week won't get them far in the finals and drastic improvement is needed to defeat the Roosters.

"We don't want to go home. That's what it comes down to now. They know they can do better - they want to perform better," Hasler said.

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