When it comes to shadowing Dally M Medal winner Tom Trbojevic, you won’t hear any complaints from rising young full-back Kaeo Weekes.
The 19-year-old Weekes is soaking up every moment of pre-season training after earning a full-time contract with the Sea Eagles top 30 squad for 2022.
One of the real standout players in the successful Sea Eagles Pathways Academy, Weekes has been a prolific try scorer in the Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions after starting at Manly as a 14-year-old.
He was part of Manly’s Development squad in 2021 where he played SG Ball and Jersey Flegg in a shortened NSW Junior Representative season due to covid.
A player with tremendous skills, vision and speed, Weekes can also play five-eighth but sees his future at full-back.
I want to keep learning and to master my craft at full-backKaeo Weekes
“I’m just going to be 'Turbo’s' little shadow, I guess. He’s the best in the world.
“Tommy is really good with numbers, so to see how he does it will be great. Hopefully I can mirror that or take in whatever piece of advice he shares with me.
“As a full-back, you want to get as many touches as you can. You just want to be around the ball and to react to it. And there’s none better than Tommy.”
A former student at Newington College, Weekes was also an athletics sprint champion.
He made an immediate impact in the Harold Matthews competition in 2017, scoring 11 tries in his first season despite playing up an age group.
“When I first came to Manly, I just wanted to make the most of my opportunities. I have made a real home here now,’’ Weekes added.
“I just want to keep putting my best foot forward.”
Rising young half Jamie Humphreys – a 2022 Development player – says Weekes has a full range of attacking artillery.
The pair formed a strong combination for Manly’s SG Ball side this season with Weekes running in eight tries in five games at full-back.
“Kaeo was always there. Whenever there was any kind of half-break, I knew he would be there on my inside,’’ Humphreys said.
“For a guy who is very quiet and humble off the field, you can certainly hear him talking all the time on it. He is very loud and is a good organiser.
“I’ve seen him play full-back and five-eighth but for me, he is a full-back. He reads the game much better there as he has more time to see spaces opening up.”
Weekes said he took in many valuable lessons as a development player at Manly and admitted to being a little star struck at first with the quality of players around him.
“You just take in so much from the experienced players in the way they train and prepare,’’ Weekes said.
“It was great to be able to learn from one of the best halves combinations in the NRL in Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran.
“To just see up close how hard they work and the longevity they both have had in the NRL is inspiring. Whatever they say, you just sit back and listen to.”
For now, Weekes will continue to go about his trade quietly in his own polite, little ways as he chases that dream of making his NRL debut.
“It would be pretty special to do it here at Manly. This club means so much to me,’’ Weekes added.
“I know it will come one day, so I need to make sure I am ready for it when it does.”
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