Legendary Manly hooker Max Krilich says the high work rate and qualities shown by Jake Trbojevic is reminiscent of former Australian prop Shane Webcke.
Webcke, nicknamed the ‘Warhorse’, played 26 Tests for Australia from 1998-2004 in a superb career at the game’s highest level.
Trbojevic begins his Australian career at lock against the Scotland Bravehearts in the Kangaroos’ opening match of the Four Nations tournament at KC Lightstream Stadium, Hull on Friday night.
Krilich played 13 Tests for Australia from 1978-83, captained his country on 10 occasions, and led the ‘Invincibles’ team that toured England in 1982.
The ‘Invincibles’ were the first Kangaroos team to tour undefeated, winning all 22 matches. The Sea Eagles were represented on the tour by Krilich, Kerry Boustead, Les Boyd, Ray Brown, Paul McCabe, and John Ribot.
Krilich says it will be a very special moment for Trbojevic when he pulls the Australian jersey over his shoulders for the first time, becoming Kangaroo number 814. He becomes the 70th Manly player to represent Australia in the Sea Eagles' 70th Year Anniversary.
“It doesn’t matter if he is playing Scotland, England, or the Kiwis. Once a Kangaroo, you are a Kangaroo forever,’’ Krilich said.
“What a fantastic moment this will be for Jake.
“The way Jake plays, he reminds me of Shane Webcke in that he wants to keep hitting the ball up, keep doing the hard work. He doesn’t shirk anything.
“He wants to be in the next play the ball, the next tackle, the tackle after that. That is great courage on his part.
Krilich said Trbojevic would not only learn from the game’s best players in Cameron Smith, Jonathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk to name a few, but the true value of the Australian Test jersey.
“He will learn about camaraderie. About being together as an Australian team,’’ he said.
“Coach Mal Meninga is bringing the culture back into the Australian jersey. For too long, players put an Origin jumper ahead of the Australian jersey.
“Mal will make sure that wearing the Australian jersey is the main focus now, and so it should be.”
And should Trbojevic need any further inspiration, he just needs to think of Krilich, the 334 grade veteran for Manly who is using two walking sticks to move around following a recent double knee replacement.
“It won’t be long before I get back on the golf course again, son’’ he quipped.
Spoken like the true warrior he was!
Read Jake's Kangaroos Diary here
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