Manly Internationals Jake Trbojevic and Martin Taupau believe Lachlan Croker can shine this season in the five-eighth role.
Croker will get his first chance in the six jersey alongside half-back Daly Cherry-Evans when the Sea Eagles tackle the Sydney Roosters in the annual Community Cup at Central Coast Stadium this Saturday night.
Trbojevic said it was hard not to be impressed by Croker’s work ethic since pre-season training began in November.
“Everything that has been thrown at him this off-season he has handled with flying colours,’’ Trbojevic said.
“Lachlan is really composed for a young bloke. He is really level headed and is doing a great job.
“This trial will be a good test (for him) but I am sure he will handle it. All of the boys are behind him.
Lachlan is a good leader for a young bloke and has been working really well with Daly.Jake Trbojevic on Lachlan Croker
“I’m hoping the partnership can continue to flourish.”
Taupau said Croker had plenty to offer the side on and off the field.
“Lachlan is a very mature player. He presents himself really well,’’ Taupau said.
“He has huge leadership potential. He has done really well orchestrating where he wants us to be and how he wants his football played on the back of the structure Trent Barrett presented.”
The Roosters trial will be the first hit out for Trbojevic and Taupau following their World Cup commitments. Trbojevic has fully recovered from a pec injury suffered in the World Cup opener against England.
“I have been doing contact work for the last few weeks, so it has had a good test and I’m ready to go for this trial and be right for round one,’’ Trbojevic said.
“It was disappointing to miss out on the rest of the World Cup but the timing has worked out well.
“I did a lot of rehab work on it for three months and had to get all the strength back into it. I’m feeling pretty confident about it. I just can’t wait to play again.”
Sea Eagles v Sydney Roosters trial
Saturday, February 24, Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Jersey Flegg 2.15pm
Intrust Super Premiership 4.15pm