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From Toovey to Trbojevic, and the 'love for the Blues'

When Westpac NSW Blues captain Jake Trbojevic took to the field for the team photo on Tuesday, it was only fitting he followed in the footsteps of the last Manly Warringah Sea Eagle to lead the NSW team who gave Trbojevic his first-grade debut – Geoff Toovey.

Toovey, known as one of the game’s toughest, captained his state in the 1997 series for a 2-1 victory, but in his 15 NSW appearances there was never any doubt he left everything on the field.

It’s that heart-on-your-sleeve approach which has remained Trbojevic’s trademark since entering the NRL and later, the Origin arena, and the 30-year-old had high praise for the former mentor who helped him on the path to where is he today.

“He’s my first NRL coach so I’m forever grateful for that,” Trbojevic said.

“He’s a great leader, great coach, so to be the next guy to captain the Blues from Manly after ‘Tooves’ is very special.

“He’s a true legend of the game.”

Trbojevic has now played 16 Origins since his 2017 debut for the Blues, winning eight matches and three series.

Among the congratulations Trbojevic received after being named captain was from the man he’ll lead against for the 2024 Ampol State of Origin series-opener on Wednesday 5 June – Daly Cherry-Evans.

“He (Cherry-Evans) sent us a message saying ‘Congrats’, obviously we’ve been mates for a long time... but hopefully the Blues come out on top.”

As for how he plans to lead the way come Game One at Sydney’s Accor Stadium, Trbojevic was all about doing the jersey proud considering the amount of quality throughout Michael Maguire’s line-up.

“That’s the thing, we’ve got so many great players and (club) captains in the team so it’s just about being myself,” Trbojevic explained.

“Don’t change anything.

“There’s lots of great players there, so I think just try and show your love for the game, love for the Blues, and hopefully that comes out.”

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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