There has been plenty of hype around the form of Manly Warringah fullback Tom Trbojevic this season but True Blue and former Sea Eagle Steve Menzies has warned his old club to be on guard against Sydney Roosters No.1 James Tedesco in Friday night’s sudden death Semi-final.
Menzies, who played in four Grand Finals for Manly winning two - 1996 over St George and 2008 over Melbourne – told Behind Blue Eyes there would be plenty of focus on helping Trbojevic after he was safely contained by Melbourne during their 40-12 win in the Qualifying Final.
Trbojevic, who is favourite to win the Dally M this year, was smothered by swarming defenders and had little possession after some basic errors from the Sea Eagles. Menzies said Manly had to stop worrying about Trbojevic’s form and concentrate on former Dally M Medal winner Tedesco.
“While Tom has been playing amazingly, ‘Teddy’ has been under the radar,” Menzies said.
“He is a world class player and obviously the NSW fullback.
“But he is the one Manly need to watch – you can’t give him too much space inside or outside. He’s just got a different set of attributes - he can stop-start, beat defenders one-on-one.”
And then there’s Origin aspirant Victor Radley, who returned from a three-game suspension to help beat the Titans last weekend.
“He reminds me a little of (former Manly second rower) Nik Kosef, who was a really good ball-player,” Menzies said.
“Victor is such a big part of their game because he’s involved in a lot of their plays. He has energy and momentum, whether it’s for a try-saving tackle or coming out of the line for a big shot.
“He will be integral in their chances of winning.”
Menzies had some final words of advice for his old club, urging them to have greater patience at the start of games, as many of the younger players are inexperienced.
“A semi-final is a different game,” he said. “For a lot of the younger players that was their first… they just need get into the groove of the game and relax.
“They need to play a little more conservatively to begin with and then once you get the feel of a game you can start throwing the ball around.
“There is more speed, intensity, physicality (with finals) so you need to control your emotions coming into the game and then keep them controlled once the game starts.
“Settle into your patterns and then you can start to play the brand of football that got you into the top-four.”