Why 'the Des factor' has Trbojevic excited for 2019

He's maroon and white down to his bootstraps and can rattle off Manly history without drawing breath, so Jake Trbojevic cuts straight to the chase when asked what the return of Des Hasler will do for Manly.

"Des definitely epitomises success," Trbojevic said, looking NRL.com straight in the eyes.

"A lot of things went wrong for us last season but there are positive signs that with Des back, if we can put it all together, we can have some success again."

It is then that Trbojevic, who returns to Manly training on Monday, rattles off Hasler's record at the Sea Eagles… the three grand finals as coach and two titles (in 2008 and 2011) and two premierships as a player in 1987 and 1996… and he throws in the two deciders he took the Bulldogs to for good measure.

The 24-year-old lock, who played his junior footy at the Mona Vale Raiders, was in Manly's SG Ball side back in 2011 when Hasler left for the Bulldogs. He's already buoyed by several discussions with Hasler since his return.

"I was never coached by Des but since he's come back I've had a good chat to him, and what stood out to me was his positive energy and how excited he is. He's really passionate about coaching Manly," Trbojevic said.

Manly coach Des Hasler.
Manly coach Des Hasler. ©Kylie Cox/NRL Photos

"Some of the older fellas who I'm mates with, and that have been coached by Des, say he has a great work ethic, thinks about everything to the nth degree and leaves no stone unturned.

"When someone is working that hard to be successful it makes you want to work hard as well."

Hasler had a 59.4% winning record in his 207 games as Manly coach first time around, an outstanding strike rate in the NRL era. Trbojevic would relish finishing with that kind of win rate as a player. It is not the NSW anmd Test forward's fault, but his 94 games for Manly have come at a 42.55% success rate, a record that highlights the Sea Eagles' lack of recent success under the departed Trent Barrett.

Trbojevic is convinced that is about to change.

"I'm back at training on Monday. My brother (Tom) has been back at training for a couple of weeks and says everyone is ripping in and I'm really excited to get back, as I always am, to train hard so we can hopefully improve and have a good year," he said.

"I played with a few of those guys from the 2008 and 2011 teams and I got to see what great competitors they were.

"I look around now and see that we have got some really good players there and if we work hard and things go our way, we can be successful.

"There were times last season where we played well for a good half, 60 minutes sometimes and even 70. There was a game against Penrith where we were something like 24-6 up with 10 to go and let it slip, so staying mentally switched on for a full game will be the key for us."

Manly lock Jake Trbojevic.
Manly lock Jake Trbojevic. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

Trbojevic said Manly would be better for the new and returning faces in 2019.

"We have got guys other clubs like Kane Elgey and then there are young guys like Lachlan Croker who I thought was going along well until he hurt his knee and he's been training really hard," he said.

"To get someone like Curtis Sironen back will be a bonus. He was having a great year last season until he got injured and I've seen how hard he has worked in rehab to put himself in apposition to play well, which he deserves."