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Trbojevic set for bitter-sweet test debut

Michael Chammas‌, Chief Reporter‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

A day after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral tendon, Jake Trbojevic has rejoined his Kangaroos teammates in Canberra in preparation for his brother Tom’s Test debut against France on Friday night.

Jake and his family drove to the nation’s capital on Thursday to witness Tom being presented with his first Australian jersey at a special presentation.

The tournament-ending injury suffered by Trbojevic in the World Cup opener against England last Friday night has denied the brothers the chance to represent their country together during the tournament, however Jake will be on the sidelines cheering his younger brother on.

“I’m very proud of him,” Jake told NRL.com

“He’s only 21-years-old and to achieve what he has is incredible. Of course I would have loved to play alongside him in his first game for Australia but it wasn’t meant to be.

“As disappointed as I am, I’ll be there watching him with the family. “It’s pretty special for all of us. He’s worked so hard to get where he is and deserves everything he gets.”

Dane Gagai, who made his Test debut in the game against England, was asked to present the jerseys to debutants (Trbojevic, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi).

While Tom was saddened by the fact he won’t make his debut alongside his brother, the occasion hasn’t been lost on him.

“It is a little bit [disappointing] in that regard,” Tom said.

“It would have been good to do it alongside Jake but unfortunately that wasn’t the case and that’s footy,’’ he said.

‘’That happens, people get injured. It does make it a little bit bitter-sweet, but then again I don’t really think about it too much that way. I’m just happy to be playing for my country. I can’t wait to represent Australia.”

Just like Campbell-Gillard on Friday and Jordan McLean last week, Tom will become the latest New South Welshman to represent his country before playing State of Origin football for the Blues.

Tom was in line to make his Origin debut earlier in the year before injury denied him that opportunity.

The Manly fullback insists he never let the setback affect him despite strong suggestions he would have been picked in Laurie Daley’s Blues side for the opening game of the series.

“It wasn’t too hard because I never really got selected,” Tom said.

“I just got hurt and didn’t give myself a chance. It was more the fact I missed games for Manly that hurt the most.

“But I’m just happy to be here amongst this calibre of players and to go out and play on Friday night. I’ll always remember the moment the team sheet was read out. It’s special to say the least.”